The Atlanta Hawks can make a real statement on Easter Sunday if they can just hold serve at home at Phillips Arena. They have the advantage in this NBA betting battle against the Orlando Magic, and they can take a 3-1 series lead over the weekend with a win on their home court.
Last season when the Magic were able to beat down the Hawks to the tune of 111 points worth of a margin of victory, things were a heck of a lot different. Dwight Howard had a big time series, but he also had a ton of help from players like Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter. The problem now, is that those two players are gone, and the men that replaced them, Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu, and Jason Richardson, just aren’t getting the job done. In fact, things are so bad that Howard and Jameer Nelson are accounting for over 55 percent of the points scored by Orlando on the average night in the playoffs. They’re the only two men that are averaging even double digits in scoring, and there have just been a ton of bodies that have been missing in action all together. Heck, Arenas didn’t even get his way into the lineup in Game 3, apparently totally at the discretion of Head Coach Stan Van Gundy. Now, Richardson faces a possible suspension for Game 4 and could be left out of the fold for the biggest game of the season.
As the pressure mounts on the Magic, the confidence level gets higher and higher for Atlanta. It knows that it only has to hold serve on its home court in Game 4 and Game 6 to be able to win this series, something similar to what it was able to do last year in the first round in a testy series against the Milwaukee Bucks. The defense has just been out of this world for the Hawks. They are content to let Howard do his thing, even if he ends up putting up 40 points and 20 boards. The trick is stopping everyone else on the team, and that strategy is working incredibly well. Orlando is only shooting around 33 percent from the field with all players not wearing No. 12 on the court, and it hasn’t eclipsed the 93 point mark that it put up in Game 1 in this series in defeat. Sure, the offense for the Hawks hasn’t been that good either, but Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson are both knocking down the big time shots that have made the difference in this series. Crawford’s triple against the Magic in Game 3 proved to be the game winner, and it really gave the entire Peach State hope to win this series against all odds.
Orlando Magic vs. Atlanta Hawks Pick: We just don’t understand what the Magic have done to make themselves deserving favorites on the NBA odds in this one. Atlanta really does look like the better team in this series, and if all of this holds up, we see no reason why the Hawks +2 isn’t the right play, whether Richardson is in the lineup or not for Orlando.
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.