Celtics vs. Hawks Pick, Odds | Game 4 NBA Playoffs Prediction (April 23)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks drives against Jayson Tatum #0 and Al Horford #42 of the Boston Celtics.
Celtics vs Hawks Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
We look for a Celtics vs. Hawks pick tonight as Atlanta looks to even the series against the Boston after picking up a much-needed win in at home in Game 3. The Celtics are road favorites here just like they were in the first game in Atlanta despite the loss.
The key thing to watch in Game 4 is whether or not the Hawks can replicate their offensive success at home. If not, they’ll be facing a 1-3 deficit headed back to Boston. Let’s dive into the matchup for both teams and find a betting pick for Celtics vs Hawks.
The Celtics have flexed their offensive muscles for the entirety of this series. They’ve put up at least 60 points in the first half of every game without breaking a sweat. They have an analytically-friendly shot profile — fourth among all playoff teams in both Location Effective Field Goal Percentage (54.8%) and Actual eFG% (59.6%), according to Cleaning the Glass — and have torched the Hawks from deep, hitting 42.5% of their 3-pointers through three games.
Game 3 was where we saw some slippage from the Celtics, though. To some degree, it should have been expected considering the Celtics were comfortable leading the series 2-0 heading into Atlanta against a team that had put up little fight to that point in the series. Boston hit 15-of-25 3s in the first half of Game 3 but somehow trailed by seven because it let the Hawks shoot 65% from the floor. The C’s looked like a team that wasn’t interested in playing defense and expected to roll over the Hawks like they did in Games 1 and 2.
Game 4 will be defined by how well the Celtics defend, Their former Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart, is questionable after hurting his back on a hard fall. They will need their guards to step up and contain Dejounte Murray and Trae Young, who both repeatedly got downhill on the pick-and-roll and carved up the Celtics defense in Atlanta. They will also need Robert Williams III to show up; he was largely ineffective and played just 19 minutes while the Celtics got out-rebounded, 48-29.
It was nice to see Young join the playoffs after two games of uninspiring play. There were points in the first half of Game 3 where the Hawks offense looked absolutely spectacular and you noticed pretty quickly who wasn’t on the floor for Atlanta.
The second half became the Young and Murray show. The star guards got into the paint with ease and put a ton of pressure on the Boston defense. Their penetration and ability to get into the paint caused issues for the Celtics, especially when the C’s went with smaller lineups.
The Hawks have lived in the midrange all season — they ranked second in frequency of shots taken from the midrange (37.5%), per Cleaning the Glass — but seem to be making a concerted effort to find 3-point shooters. For a team that was consistently losing the math game all season, Game 3 was an encouraging sign for their offense.
Offense has been a big theme here, but believe it or not, Game 3 was the only one in this series that went over the total. The Hawks showed up at home, but I’m not entirely sure I trust them to be as effective now that they have the Celtics’ attention.
I lean toward the under at 232.5, but I’m really focused on the Celtics’ team total. It’s currently set at 118.5, which is really high, but the Celtics have shown they can top that number both in a blowout and in a competitive game. The Celtics shot 46.2% on uncontested field goal attempts in Game 3, according to NBA Advanced Stats, and still managed to put up 122 on the road. I expect that to turn around in Game 4.
I’m also putting a smaller bet on the Hawks to win the second half. As much as I think the Celtics are the better team here, the Hawks have fought hard in the second half of every game in this series. They’ve done it twice in this series and lost the second half of Game 2 by one point. (They’ve also trailed by double digits in two of those games, so winning the second half was necessary to make it a game at all.)
Boston should be able to get off to another hot start in Game 4 and force the Hawks to keep up after halftime.
Pick: Celtics Over 118.5 · Hawks 2H ML (+138)
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