Celtics vs. Hawks Odds, Prediction | NBA Playoffs Game 3 Picks

Celtics vs. Hawks Odds, Prediction | NBA Playoffs Game 3 Picks article feature image

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics, De’Andre Hunder of the Atlanta Hawks.

  • The Boston Celtics head to Atlanta to face the Hawks in Game 3 of their first-round series Friday.
  • The Celtics are 5.5-point favorites on the road entering Friday's game after two blowout wins.
  • Roberto Arguello explains how he's betting the matchup in the Celtics vs Hawks preview.

Celtics vs. Hawks Odds

Celtics Odds-5.5
Hawks Odds+5.5
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Atlanta Hawks host the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series after the Celtics dominated on their home court in the first two games while covering in both matchups.

The Hawks are in a must-win spot as no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA Playoffs. With their backs against the wall, will they respond with an upset win as five-point favorites tonight?

Let’s break down the matchup and prediction in the Celtics vs Hawks Game 3 betting preview below.

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Boston Celtics

If the Celtics continue to share the basketball on offense, they should continue to have success against an overmatched Hawks team. The Celtics have a variety of paths to win and cover in this matchup: they are the bigger, more athletic, better offensive and better defensive team. They were also the most profitable road favorite against the spread this season when facing teams at or above.500in the East, according to Bet Labs.

With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the way, the Celtics have the top two players in this series who can both generate their own shots and get to the rim at will. The Hawks don’t have the necessary size and athleticism to stop them one-on-one, and they have punished the Hawks when they have generated advantages by passing to open teammates on the perimeter and at the rim.

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks made a major strategy improvement in Game 2 from Game 1 as they increased their 3-point shooting frequency from 28% of their shots to 46% of their shots. This strategy is the best way for them to upset the Celtics, the significantly better team, especially with Dejounte Murray going 7-of-13 from deep.

The Hawks took the second-most midrange shots and the fewest 3-point attempts per possession in the NBA regular season, per Cleaning The Glass, and ranked 24th in 3-point Attempt Frequency.

If the Hawks win or cover, they need Murray to continue his hot shooting and for Trae Young to step up. Young has been stifled by the Celtics defense as he has committed five turnovers in each of the first two games while going a combined 3-of-13 from deep. He needs to bring his best tonight as Derrick White has gotten the better of him in the series so far.

Saddiq Bey and Bogdan Bogdanovic will need to harness the home crowd’s energy into more 3-point makes as the best high-frequency shooters on the team in addition to Atlanta’s star guards.

Hawks-Celtics Pick

While the Hawks should come out strong in this must-win spot at home, the Celtics should take care of business and take a commanding 3-0 series lead. Not only have the Celtics covered and won in the first two matchups of this series, but they have also covered in the last seven games against the Hawks.

The Celtics have edges over the Hawks on both ends of the court because they have the two best players in this series, are the better 3-point shooting team and have a far superior defense with White, Al Horford and Robert Williams posing a challenge to Young and the Hawks on the pick-and-roll. I’ll back Boston on the spread at -5.5 on FanDuel to keep its cover streak alive.

If you want to hunt for a better number live instead of laying the 5.5 points, I would wait to get the Celtics at -2 or better as I believe the Hawks will start strong like in Game 2 with their home crowd igniting a strong start. However, the Celtics have the versatility to respond and adjust to any changes the Hawks make and eventually emerge victorious.

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