NBA Picks: Double Your Profit Margin Betting Hawks vs. Celtics Game 3

Kevin Stott

Thursday, April 21, 2016 1:37 PM GMT

The Celtics looked helpless in Game 2, and the loss of starting Guard Avery Bradley wasn’t the only glaring weakness exposed on Tuesday. Let’s examine and try to actually find an NBA winner.

Odds Overview
Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics [Saturday 01:05] (ESPN2, Directv 209 (US), 8:05 p.m. EDT/5:05 p.m. PDT): Isaiah Thomas and the No. 5-seed Boston Celtics (48-34 SU, 21-20 Away in Regular Season) play host to Paul Millsap and the Atlanta Hawks (48-34 SU, 27-14 Home) in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Playoffs First Round series at TD Garden Arena in Boston on Friday night as Boston looks to get back in the series after watching Atlanta race out to a 23-4 lead in Game 2 and then never look back in an 89-72 humbling of the visitors.

With Avery Bradley (Hamstring) out, Online Sportsbooks have the host Celtics as 3-point favorites (Intertops) in this Game 3 with the Total (Points) at 200½ (Intertops). The Money Line (Winner) NBA odds boards see host Boston priced at -165 (Intertops) with the visiting Hawks lined at +145 on the takeback as the Road underdog in what actually seems like a good spot for Atlanta and Al Horford (Probable) which can definitely go in and win this game in Beantown and can sweep the series against this still very young and still somewhat inexperienced Celtics squad.

 

Boston Celtics
The 5th-seeded Boston Celtics (43-40-1 ATS) and Head Coach Brad Stevens looked absolutely lost in Game 2, the club’s first without the services of SG Avery Bradley in the Starting 5, and the University of Texas product’s absence was notable as Atlanta found huge open spaces on the floor and raced out to that aforementioned 23-4 1st Quarter lead (in the first 6:32), stealing any Hope Boston might have had of stealing Game 2 in Atlanta.

But it wasn’t only the Defense and the Body Language which should worry Celtics fan and potential backers at the betting window, but Boston’s Offense was atrocious and shots were either way short, way over or even airballs for a team many thought may be a viable threat in the Eastern Conference Playoffs this year (80/1 to win Eastern Conference, at Ladbrokes).

Think again. Not this year and not even close. This team’s odds went from (a high) of 33/1 (Ladbrokes) to win the East before the game all the way to 80/1 (at Bet365) from just one game, so you can see what Oddsmakers and Sports Bettors thought about Game 2 and this series.

The Celtics will be lucky to win a game, with Scoring being the most glaring weakness and the Boston Defense a shell of its former self with D-workhorse Bradley probably out for the series.

In Tuesday’s Loss, Boston shot a pathetic 31.8% (28-88) from the Field and an even worse 5-28 (17.9%) from behind the 3-Point line with starters Marcus Smart (1-11, 3 points) and Jae Crowder (1-9, 2 points) going a combined 2-for-20 and scoring 5 points in 65 minutes of Playing Time.

And playmaker Thomas (5-16, 16 points) looked helpless and tired by Halftime without his backcourt buddy Bradley in the game in which Boston actually played Atlanta mathematically even in Quarters 2-4 with that 17-point margin earned in the 1st Quarter (24-7 E1) being the ultimate catapult to an easy victory.

No matter what, the Celtics (200/1 to win NBA championship, William Hill; was 100/1 before Game 2) can’t be feeling very good about themselves although you know they’ll be up for this game in this spot (coming Home down 0-2) and that the Home rims will have to be kinder to them than Atlanta’s...if some of these C’s can still hit the rim that is.

SG Bradley (Hamstring) is listed as Out Indefinitely, Smart (Ribs) is listed as Probable and backup C Kelly Olynyk (Shoulder) is listed as Questionable for Game 3.

Without Olynyk and with Smart both hobbled and off shooting-wise, it seems this young team is in a lot of trouble right now and the 7 total points in the 1st Quarter in Game 2—the lowest-ever since the NBA started using a Shot Clock back in 1954—speaks volumes about this Roster’s ability to score.

Atlanta Hawks
The 4th-seeded Atlanta Hawks (43-40-1 ATS) and Head Coach Mike Budenholzer might not be as young and full of Promise as the Celtics and may have some key guys who were almost dealt, but this is a team playing some pretty good team basketball right now and which has been for a nice little period of time.

And one big thing Atlanta (40/1 to win NBA championship, Ladbrokes) seems to have that Boston is sorely lacking in is the ability to get Points from a number of different places, with as many as six or seven Hawks able to butter the bread if need be.

On Tuesday, it was Al Horford (17 points) and SG Kyle Korver (17 points)—who rebounded after an awful Game 1 performance—PG Jeff Teague (13 points) and Thabo Sefolosha (12 points) who led the way in scoring for Atlanta which actually got some poor statistical performances from starting Forwards Paul Millsap (1-12, 4 points) and F Kent Bazemore (5 points) as well as Reserves Mike Scott (3-9, 6 points) and Dennis Schroeder (3-6, 8 points; Tweaked Foot).

The Hawks only shot 39% (32-82) from the Field and this game seemed to be won and over with that 23-4 1st Quarter spurt which absolutely demoralized Boston which was trying to play without Bradley for the first time in a crucial situation. Mission not accomplished. Injury-wise, Tiago Splitter (Hip) has been Out for the Season for Atlanta (+850 to win Eastern Conference, Ladbrokes), Horford is listed as Probable while Schroeder twisted his Foot late in the game and is deemed Questionable for Friday’s Game 3.

 

Thoughts, Trends, Streaks, Recent Relevant Series Information and Game 3 NBA picks
With Tuesday night’s Win and ATS cover, Atlanta is now 9-3 SU the L12 meetings in this series and 7-5 ATS in those games with the Hawks W4 of the L5 ATS. So, the recent, relevant Trends and Momentum are really favoring Atlanta heading in here.

The Hawks are 7-2 ATS L9 vs. Atlantic Division foes but 3-7 ATS L10 Overall and 3-6 ATS L9 vs. Eastern Conference but the Celtics are just 4-8 ATS L12 Overall and 4-8 ATS in their L12 vs. a Team with SU Winning Record and Boston is now 2-5 ATS in their L7 Conference Quarterfinal (First Round) games.

But the big things here are that Korver is alive and well and expect him to heat up even more from outside for Atlanta while Thomas will attempt to put the Celtics on his back, with Smart, Evan Turner, Jared Sullinger and Crawford just not experienced, confident and prolific enough scoring-wise to hang with this Hawks bunch which should get better games from star Millsap, Bazemore and Schroeder, Foot-willing.

It seems Boston is in trouble and may lead and hang for 2½ quarters here on Friday night but then fade against the experienced Hawks in the 2nd Half and fall to 0-3 in the series and start thinking about next season...already. When a team is 9-3 SU in the L12 meetings, is 4-1 ATS the L5 and has seen that opponent score just 7 points in the 1st Quarter, you might say they “have their number.”

Game 4 (April 24, TNT) is scheduled for Sunday here at The New Boston Garden, and, if necessary, Game 5 will be played at the Philips Arena in Atlanta (April 26), a Game 6 would be back in Boston (April 28) and a potential magical Game 7 (April 30, TNT) would be back in Atlanta. Good luck with that Game 7.

Final Score Prediction: Hawks 90 Celtics 85

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Free NBA Pick: Under 200½ (-105), Hawks Moneyline +145
Best Line Offered: at Heritage , at Intertops
NBA Assignments Picks Record This Week: 0-1 — Last Week: 2-4