NBA Picks: Bet Hawks To Cover The Spread Against Celtics With Pace & Great Defense

Charles Stark

Saturday, April 16, 2016 4:28 PM GMT

Saturday, Apr. 16, 2016 4:28 PM GMT

Playoffs start today and there is a nice slate of games. One of the more interesting matchups is with Boston taking on Atlanta. Do the Hawks at home have the best NBA odd value?

Odds makers have come out making Atlanta a -5.5 favorite like at Pinnacle Sports -105. Although I am a huge fan of Brad Stevens for this first game I'm going to back Atlanta minus the points for one of my NBA picks. Honestly this series could go either way and I actually lean to Boston to win it, but the first game on the road in a series is tough for every team.

 

Boston Celtics
Boston comes in averaging 105.7 points per game which ranks fifth in the NBA and they rank first averaging 89.2 attempts offensively. If there is any team that has a huge upside these next few seasons it is the Boston Celtics as they have a nice core of players, a ton of draft picks, and one of the best coaches in the game.

We know what we are going to get with the Celtics is that they're going to push the tempo as much as possible as they average more shots than anyone in the league. With that though is the fact that they allow a lot of attempts with opponents getting up 85 shots per game which ranks 20th in the NBA.

In their last game here visiting Atlanta they allowed the Hawks to get up 88 shots and the Hawks lit them up shooting over 50% from the field and from distance. Boston has some nice defensive statistics overall but if they want to go at this tempo they could find themselves in a bit of trouble against a very efficient Atlanta offense.

Boston is one of the better teams in the league in defending from beyond the arc allowing opponents to shoot just 33.6% but this is not a huge issue for Atlanta because they have the ability to score from all over the floor from the inside out, and as mentioned, they shot well from distance in their previous matchup.

 

Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta ranks first in the NBA in opponent overall and two point shooting percentage, as well as sixth in opponent shooting percentage from distance. In their last matchup in Atlanta, Boston was in a tough spot coming off a back to back so they dominated most of the game. I don't expect them to beat Boston by that same margin as I'm sure Brad Stevens will have a good game plan going in.

However, I don't anticipate Boston to scrap their entire scheme of how they go about playing basketball. Atlanta is a tough matchup for Boston because they also like to go and allow up-tempo basketball averaging 84.4 shots per game which ranks in the middle of the league and allowing 86.1 opponent attempts which ranks 26th.

Atlanta ranks in the top 10 in most offensive categories but what I like about them in this first game is on the defensive side. The Hawks rank as well in the top 10 in most categories defensively highlighted by, as mentioned, opponent shooting percentage but also they rank third in the league in opponent shooting efficiency and effective field-goal percentage. Checke the NBA odds boards for this game to back me up.

To beat the Celtics, Hawks know they will have to lean on their defense, which I anticipate them doing tonight.

 

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Free NBA Pick: Atlanta Hawks -5.5 (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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