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Hawks Magic Betting – Hawks Still Can’t Solve Magic In Playoffs

Posted by Craig Parsons on 2/6/2014 2:58:28 AM

Online betting players watched Atlanta get a small measure of revenge over Orlando in the regular season, getting the upper hand after last year’s playoff demolition at the hands of the Magic. But the two meet again in the postseason, and once again, we’re giving the edge to Orlando and their dominant “Superman”.

  • What: NBA Betting
  • When: Game 1 begins on Saturday, April 16th, at 7:00 PM ET in Orlando
  • Where: Games 1,2,5,7 (Philips Arena, Atlanta); Games 3,4,6 (Amway Center, Orlando)
  • Pick: Orlando Magic

Why Bet On Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks finished eight games behind Orlando for fifth spot in the Eastern Conference, and they come into the playoffs on a six-game losing skid. Atlanta just seems like one of those average teams that don’t do anything extremely well, but they do play solid defense, coming in ninth in points allowed. They’re especially good defending the three-point line, finishing fourth in three-point defense, and that is going to be a massive weapon against the Magic, who love to shoot from deep. Offensively, once again the Hawks are 25th in the NBA in points scored, but they do shoot 46.2% from the field, which is good for 12th, so at least they’re efficient. Joe Johnson definitely wasn’t worth the max-money deal he signed, but 18.2 points is still nothing to sneeze at; it’s just that Johnson isn’t the type of player who will carry you through a series, and he proved that last season against Orlando. Josh Smith and Marvin Williams both missed time at the end of the regular season with a knee and ankle injury, respectively, and the Hawks will need them at close to full strength to beat Orlando. The switch from Mike Bibby to Kirk Hinrich at the point hasn’t really changed them much, expect that Hinrich is a better defender, and you can’t forget about Al Horford in the post and Jamal Crawford coming off the bench.

But you can’t look at Atlanta’s team and say, this is a team built to win in the playoffs. They win the games they’re supposed to win (30-12 against teams who are below .500), and falter against the better teams (14-26 against teams above .500). They’re great in close games with a 7-1 record in games decided by three points or less, but the Hawks can rarely keep it close against the better teams. Atlanta has gone to seven games in the first round in three straight seasons, and in the past two, they should have handled those teams easily, so their playoff pedigree is sketchy, at best.

Why Bet On Orlando Magic

The Magic risked their NBA betting odds by essentially switching their team a quarter into the season, trading Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus and Rashard Lewis away to pick up Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Gilbert Arenas, and they improved their team, but not by much. The Arenas experiment hasn’t panned out, and his knee injury only means more minutes for Jameer Nelson, which is actually better for the team. But what they do have is a legitimate MVP candidate in Dwight Howard, and even though Chicago’s Derrick Rose will likely win the award (also, deservedly so), you can’t deny Howard’s impact on the Magic. Orlando is fourth in the league in points allowed and field-goal defense, and there is no way you can say with a straight face that would be the case without Howard, the best big man in the league. Sure, he has had some problems with technical fouls and he’s a poor free-throw shooter, but when Howard is in the lineup, teams have to think twice about attacking the paint, and Howard is improving his offensive game to go beyond dunks, although he is still a dunk machine. With all the attention Howards gets in the paint, the Magic are 10th in the NBA in three-point shooting, and Howard has powered them to second in rebounding differential.

But outside of Howard, the Magic are terrible defensively, even though the numbers don’t really reflect it. He gives them that intimidation factor down low, because the Magic aren’t that great on the perimeter. Losing Pietrus was a big blow to that aspect of Orlando’s game, and they haven’t really replaced him. Brandon Bass is an unsung player, but that doesn’t help on the outside. Nelson, Turkoglu and Richardson will never be recognized as stoppers, but they do just enough to funnel their man into Howard. But he has to remain on the floor; Howard has averaged 4.8 fouls in four meetings with the Hawks this season.

How The Series Will Play Out:

Even though the Hawks won three of four against the Magic during the regular season, we’re betting on the Magic to come out as the NBA betting favorites in this series because you can’t just erase what Orlando did to Atlanta in the second round of last season’s playoffs. The Magic throttled the Hawks in a four-game sweep, winning by an average of over 25 points, and that gives them a definite mental edge in this Eastern Conference showdown. The Hawks have been very good at getting Howard in foul trouble as he has reached five fouls in three of the four meetings, which that limits his time on the floor and makes the Magic that much easier to attack.

The key to this series will be Johnson, and it’s not right to put all of the hopes on a team on one player, but the Magic have a player who can dominate the series and pull out a couple of wins that maybe that team doesn’t deserve in Howard. Johnson has yet to prove that he can do that, and we wouldn’t bet on him changing that this year. Bet on the Orlando Magic in your sports betting book.

Hawks Magic Betting Pick: Orlando Magic

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