Hawks vs. Celtics Odds, Pick, Game 1 Prediction | NBA Playoffs Betting Preview (April 15)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics dunks on John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks.
- The Boston Celtics host the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 off their NBA Playoff series.
- The Celtics are close to double-digit favorites (spread: Celtics -9), but there's value on a first half bet at shorter odds.
- Austin Wang breaks down the matchup and gives his Hawks vs Celtics NBA prediction below.
Hawks vs. Celtics Odds
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Atlanta Hawks showed some guts in an impressive victory against the Miami Heat in the Play-In Tournament. Their prize is a first round series date against the reigning Eastern Conference champions, Boston Celtics.
Here are the results from their regular season matchups with the home team listed first:
- Nov. 16, 2022 — Hawks: 101, Celtics: 126 | Line: PK | Robert Wiliams III out
- Mar. 11, 2023 — Hawks: 125, Celtics: 134 | Line: Celtics -5 | Williams III out
- Apr. 9, 2023 — Celtics: 120, Hawks: 114 | Line: Celtics -4.5 | Final game of the season – stars did not play
The Celtics easily won and covered all three head-to-head battles this season. Williams III did not play in any of the three games. Most key players sat out the third game, which was the season finale.
The Celtics are heavy favorites with the spread nearly hitting double digits.The Hawks have looked better to finish off the season, so can they keep it close on Saturday? Here’s a look at the odds, as well as a betting pick and prediction for Game 1 of Celtics vs. Hawks.
It has been an interesting season for the Hawks. They brought in another star guard in Dejounte Murray to complement Trae Young. However, their results were mediocre, and prompted a midseason coaching change, bringing in Quin Snyder in favor of Nate McMillan. John Collins’s name was mentioned in trade rumors all season long, and recent news came out that Young could also be on the trading block this offseason.
The Hawks rank third in Offensive Rating (120.1) since the All-Star break and they went 14-9 (60.9%) to the over during that timeframe. The Hawks are one of the few teams that do not rely on the 3-pointer. Instead, they rank seventh in the league in points in the paint. The problem is, with Williams III in for the Celtics, this instantly gives the C’s a strong interior presence to neutralize the Hawks’ strengths.
Their defense will be exploited. As talented of a scorer Young is, he is a defensive liability, and the Celtics will surely look to take advantage.
One season-long trend to note is that the Hawks struggle against good teams. They are 5-11 straight up and against the spread against teams with a winning percentage of .600 or greater, per the Sports Data Query Language at Killer Sports. In addition, they’ve been unable to string together consecutive wins. They are 16-25 SU and 15-26 ATS in games after a win.
After a tumultuous offseason, some were speculating regression for the Celtics. They acquired Malcolm Brogdon, Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari to beef up their bench. That excitement waned quickly after Gallinari tore his ACL while playing on the Italian National Team in the FIBA World Cup. Joe Mazzulla replaced Ime Udoka as head coach after Udoka was involved in a scandal. Amidst all these distractions, the Celtics finished the season 57-25 with the second-best record in the league.
Williams III is an X-factor for the Celtics. His interior presence and rebounding will be crucial against the Hawks, who are 10th in Offensive Rebounding % and do plenty of scoring in the paint. The Celtics’ Defensive Rating improves by 4.6 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court, per Basketball Reference.
Despite Williams not being available for all three of the head-to-head matchups this season, the Celtics won and covered all three games. I see the Hawks having a hard time on both ends of the ball against a superior team. The Celtics have multiple strong perimeter defenders to throw at Young and Murray, forcing the Hawks to look elsewhere for contributions.
I like the Celtics to continue this one-sided domination of the Hawks for their sixth consecutive head-to-head win and cover. However, instead of taking the full game spread, there is one angle I like in particular:
The first half splits heavily favor the Celtics. They have the seventh best first half ATS record at 45-37. This improves to sixth at home with a 23-18 first half ATS record. On the flip side, the Hawks are 25th in covering the first half spread at 37-45-1 (28th on the road with a 17-25 1H ATS record).
I’m betting on the more experienced and well-rested team to come out early and assert their dominance. Give me the Celtics -5 in the first half.
Pick: Celtics 1H -5
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