Our resident NBA handicapping professional analyzes the opening game of the playoff series between Washington and Atlanta on Sunday. His revealing betting preview article culminates with a pick.
Southeast Division Rivals collide in Game 1 of NBA Playoffs on Sunday
The Atlantic Hawks will meet the Washington Wizards in the opening game of the second round playoff series on Sunday at 1:05 PM ET. According to the NBA odds at BetOnline, Atlanta is a 5.0 point favorite, and the posted total is 197.5. These Southeast Division rivals met four times during the regular season, and Atlanta won 3 of those encounters.
Washington converted on an outstanding 44.3% of their three-point attempts during the first round sweep of Toronto. They averaged eleven made three point shots per game during those four contests. In saying they overachieved in that aspect of their game in the Toronto series would be a vast understatement. Washington has converted on a decent 36.5% of their three-point attempts this season. However, they’re averaging only six three-point made shots per game for the season, and that’s well below the mark set by the Wizards in its four playoff contests.
The Atlanta Hawks have been a very good three-point shooting team this season by converting on a stellar 37.8% of their attempts. They’re averaging ten made three-point shots per game. They currently possess the most lethal three-point shooter in the NBA this season in Kyle Korver. The Atlanta sharp shooter made an incredible 221 of his 449 (49.2%) of his three point attempts during the regular season. He went 23-for-58 (39.7%) in his six games versus Brooklyn in the Hawks first round playoff series win.
These teams saw all four of their regular season meetings go over the total, and there was an average of 206.3 points scored per game. As a matter of fact, since the beginning of the 2013-2014 NBA campaign, they’re 10-2 over the total, and that includes 6-0 over in the games played at Atlanta.
A significant handicapping factor pertains to the trend of high scoring contests since the 2011 playoffs, during an opening game of a round two series. Those games are 26-6 over the total and 62.5% of those contests surpassed the number by 7.0 points or more. I see this game following a similar path with all being considered, and my NBA picks on Sunday will indicate exactly that.
NBA Pick: Washington and Atlanta to go over the total of 197.5 at BetOnline.