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Hawks vs. 76ers NBA Playoffs Game 5: The Green Door

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Hawks vs. 76ers NBA Playoffs Game 5: The Green Door
Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks on June 14, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

The Atlanta Hawks still have value for Wednesday’s tilt with the Philadelphia 76ers – but does the total belong in your NBA picks instead?

Atlanta Hawks vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 – 7:30 PM ET at Wells Fargo Center

The last time we were discussing NBA teams here at the ranch, we said the Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks were closer on paper than the betting public could fathom. Then the Sixers made us look a bit silly by thumping Atlanta 127-111 last Friday as 6.5-point home faves. But lo and behold, the Hawks bounced back Monday night and beat Philly 103-100, cashing in as 3-point home dogs on the NBA odds board and knotting their Eastern Conference semifinal at two games apiece, SU and ATS.

Let’s not be too results-oriented, though. The Hawks were the right choice for your NBA picks in both those games, and they still carry the same betting value into Wednesday’s Game 5 at the WFC – sort of. This time, the fine folks at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review) have Atlanta getting six points as we go to press, down from +6.5 at the open. Is it still worth investing in the Hawks at this price?

Numbers In Action

Maybe for a small sum at most. The projections at FiveThirtyEight have Philadelphia winning this game by 5.5 points on average, which only leaves us a tiny sliver of potential profit margin on the spread. It might behoove us to look at that total instead. Conveniently enough, we’ve got a projection for that, too – sort of. Jeff Sagarin’s analytics at The USA Today produced a kayfabe total of 223.84 for Game 4; we’re guessing his Game 5 projection won’t be too different once it drops on game day.

Those must be pretty good analytics. Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review) has Wednesday’s total pegged at 224 points, as do most of the top online sportsbooks on our big board; others have it at 223.5. Well, fudge. This series also has the over/under at 2-2 heading into Game 5, but we were hoping to find some value on the Over after Monday’s brickfest, which saw Joel Embiid shoot 4-for-20 (nice) for the Sixers and Trae Young shoot 8-for-26 for Atlanta. Double fudge.

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers on June 08, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP

The Finest Green

Here’s the thing, though: Embiid is less likely to enjoy some positive regression Wednesday night. His right knee is a mess at this point, and the deeper he went into Game 4, the worse his shooting got. Unless they’ve got some really good deer-antler spray in Philly, we can expect Embiid’s struggles to continue in Game 5.

Then you have the loss of Danny Green (strained right calf) for the next 2-3 weeks. Green takes a lot of flak from casual fans, but he’s a quality 3-and-D wing, and the space he creates helped Embiid become an MVP finalist this year. Maybe the Sixers faithful would rather see Seth Curry (minus-0.9 BPM at Basketball Reference) get those minutes, or Furkan Korkmaz (minus-0.3 BPM), or even Tyrese Maxey (minus-1.9 BPM). But none of those players is as good as Green (plus-1.5 BPM), and his absence cost them in Game 4. Let’s see if the same thing happens in Game 5, and may the sphere be with you.

NBA Pick: Hawks +6 (-105) at Bovada

Hawks +6(-105)
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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.