76ers vs. Hawks NBA Playoffs Game 3: The Profitable South

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76ers vs. Hawks NBA Playoffs Game 3: The Profitable South
Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers on June 08, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP

The Atlanta Hawks are good enough to beat the Philadelphia 76ers and the NBA odds this Friday in Game 3 of their Eastern semifinal.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks

Friday, June 11, 2021 – 7:30 PM ET at State Farm Arena

One team has several All-Stars, an MVP finalist, a rabid national fanbase, and three NBA championships. The other team is the Atlanta Hawks. So of course we’re putting the Hawks in our NBA picks for Friday’s Game 3 versus the Philadelphia 76ers. That’s how we roll.

It’s not just us. Atlanta opened as 2-point home dogs on the NBA odds board at GTbets (visit our GTbets Review); there’s been action on both sides, but it looks like the Hawks are getting more of the early money after dipping as low as +1. They’re back to +1.5 as we go to press, which is lovely, because the fine folks at FiveThirtyEight project them at -1.5. Just like nature intended.

Spirit Of ‘76

It’s always nice when the stars align – the stars in this case being computers and old-school sports betting principles. The 76ers (49-23 SU, 38-31-3 ATS during the regular season) are the obvious public team here; yes, one of their three titles happened in 1955 when they were the Syracuse Nationals, but Wilt Chamberlain took them to the top in 1967, and the 76ers had Julius Erving and Moses Malone when they won it again in 1983. No titles since then, but superstars like Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson have kept Philadelphia in the hoops spotlight.

Joel Embiid is the new keeper of the flame. Embiid finished second behind Denver’s Nikola Jokic in this year’s MVP race, but everywhere you look, the pundits are saying Embiid would have won had he played a full season. I’ll just leave this here:

  • Embiid: plus-7.2 BPM
  • Jokic: plus-11.7 BPM

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Trae Bien

Meanwhile, the Hawks (41-31 SU, 39-32-1 ATS) do have that gold chip on the back of their uniform, having won the title back in 1958 when they were in St. Louis. But there have been some very lean years since they moved to Atlanta in 1968. Dominique Wilkins provided some excitement back in the ‘80s, and they even made the Eastern Conference Finals in 2015 after winning 60 games. That’s about it for the Dirty South.

Until now. Trae Young (plus-5.4 OBPM) is already one of the best offensive players in the league, although not nearly the same two-way contributor as Embiid. He doesn’t have to be; Clint Capela. John Collins and Kevin Huerter are all solid defenders who have stepped their game up even more since Nate McMillan took over as interim head coach on March 1.

Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks on March 30, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

Then you’ve got the spacing provided by Bogdan Bogdanovic (plus-3.4 OBPM) and Danilo Gallinari (plus-1.6 OBPM), Atlanta’s two major offseason acquisitions. This team looks and cooks quite a bit like Philly, who have also unlocked more of their potential with the additions of Seth Curry (minus-0.1 OBPM) and Danny Green (plus-0.2 OBPM) on the wing. That’s what makes this series so compelling – they’re very close on paper, closer than the betting public appreciates. We’ll buy that for a dollar.

NBA Pick: Hawks +1.5 (-109) at GTbets

Hawks +1.5(-109)
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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.