The Atlanta Hawks have been the right NBA pick for their second-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers. Friday’s Game 6 is no exception.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks
Friday, June 18, 2021 – 07:30 PM EDT at State Farm Arena
I love it when a plan comes together. We’ve been pounding the Atlanta Hawks here at the ranch for their second-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers; the Hawks were in our Wednesday NBA picks as six-point road dogs for Game 5, and they won 109-106 to take a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal. Too bad this money train could end Friday night in the ATL.
Better get some of this while we still can. The Hawks have opened as three-point home dogs for Game 6, which just seems ridiculous at this stage, and Nate Silver’s computers agree. His projections at FiveThirtyEight have Friday’s matchup as a pick’em. Who are we to argue? The Hawks are the clear value pick in this series, and the 76ers the obvious “public” team. And that three-point gap between the projections and the NBA odds is big enough for a chunky bet.
In theory. Atlanta did have to rally from 26 points behind to beat the Sixers on Wednesday, but rally they did, and when you look at the full 48 minutes, the Hawks “deserved” the win. They generated 10 more field goal attempts than Philadelphia, compared to 10 fewer free throws. Atlanta also took advantage of Philly’s depleted reserves; former Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams was plus-31 in his 23 minutes off the bench.
The Sixers don’t have much room for improvement, either, according to top sportsbooks. Despite his ailing right knee, Joel Embiid was en fuego for Philadelphia, dropping 37 points on 12-for-20 shooting. Seth Curry (13-for-19, 36 points) stepped up big-time, too. As a team, Philly shot 13-of-30 (43.3 percent) from downtown, while Atlanta went 9-for-26 (34.6 percent). Any positive regression on that front should benefit the Hawks in the long run.
One of the important angles we brought up in our Game 5 preview was the absence of Danny Green (strained calf) for the 76ers. As you may have noticed, players are falling left and right the deeper we get into the playoffs. NBA teams that spent the most time last year in the Orlando bubble are at the greatest risk; the Sixers only made it to the first round, but Green went the distance with the Los Angeles Lakers, while the Hawks missed the playoffs.
As for Embiid, his health has been an issue ever since he was a young shaver with the Kansas Jayhawks. How much does he have left in the tank after playing 39 minutes in Game 5? Don’t forget about that near-capacity crowd at State Farm Arena, either. The betting public may not agree, but that’s why the Hawks have value, so bet accordingly, and may the sphere be with you.
*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.