Eastern Conference No.1 seed Atlanta Hawks appear to have a straight forward clash with the No.8 Brooklyn Nets. Can the Nets spring the surprise on the Hawks or is this series a foregone conclusion as the NBA odds would suggest? Here's a preview complete with NBA picks.
Regular Season Preview
The high-flying Atlanta Hawks finished the season at the top of the Eastern Conference with a stellar 60-22 SU record and a 51-31 ATS record. The Brooklyn Nets, by contrast, squeezed into the NBA playoffs with a 38-44 SU record and a 39-41-2 ATS record.
While the Hawks emerge as the top seed, they lost a bit of steam down the stretch, losing three on the trot to close the season with a modest 5-5 SU record. The Nets, however, picked up a bit of pace to finish the season with a 6-4 record in their last ten, winning their season closer 101-88 over Orlando Magic.
Where the Hawks have been most dominant is at home; they boast the second best home record in the league at 35-6 SU, which includes a 26-15 ATS mark. Brooklyn's home form leaves a lot to be desired with a 19-22 SU record and a 16-23-2 ATS record.
On the road, the Hawks are a commendable 25-16 SU and ATS. The Nets meanwhile are a subpar 19-22 SU on the road but 23-18 ATS.
Head-to-Head Record 2014-2015
Given the gap in quality and depth between these two sides, it comes as no surprise that the Hawks swept the regular season series 4-0 SU and ATS. They opened the series with a 98-75 beat down, handily covering as the mere 1-point road faves. They then won back-to-back home dates 113-102 and 131-99, each time covering handily as the whopping double-digit home chalk against the spread. They series ended on a narrow 114-111 win by the Hawks on the road, all while covering as the 4.5-point road underdogs. Why they were so disadvantage on the NBA odds board is a mystery, to some extent.
The Hawks have reached the playoffs in the last five years. However, it's interesting to note that they are currently riding a first-round losing streak in three consecutive appearances. In 2011-2012, they lost to Boston 2-4 in the first round. And, in the last two seasons, they lost to Indiana: 2-4 in 2012-2013 and 3-4 in 2013-2014.
The Nets reached the semi-finals last year, only to lost to Miami 1-4. The year prior they lost in the first round to Chicago 3-4. This is their third straight appearance in the NBA playoffs, but arguably one of their toughest first round draws.
NBA Playoffs Odds No. 1 Atlanta vs. No. 8 Brooklyn
As far as the NBA betting board goes, the Atlanta Hawks are justifiably priced amongst the top favourites to win it all on the strength of their season. They are matched at +1000 in the overarching NBA playoffs market and at +333 NBA Odds to win the Eastern Conference, second only to the Cleveland Cavalier, a side that is being touted the likeliest champions in NBA betting circles.
The NBA odds are stacked against the Brooklyn Nets in just about every category, for good reason. They are the long shot NBA pick at +15000 to win it all, as well the long shot NBA pick to reach the Championship Final at +6600.
Breaking Down the Series:
Atlanta Hawks -1300 NBA Odds To Win Series
Brooklyn Nets +800 NBA Odds To Win Series
NBA Betting Verdict:
This series is a complete and utter mismatch. The Hawks tick all the boxes and should advance into the next round without too much hassle. They swept the series with the Nets convincingly both SU and ATS, all while making mincemeat of their defense and toying with their offense. Granted the Hawks lost three straight to close the season, but to all intents and purposes those games were meaningless to them. So they shouldn't be cause for alarm. More likely than not, the Hawks will pick up from where they left off against the Nets. The underdogs will be hard pressed to win a game, let alone stay competitive in this series. Take the Hawks to sweep the Nets out of the NBA playoffs on your NBA picks.
NBA Picks: Hawks To Win Series in 4