Could Trae Young and the rising Atlanta Hawks upset the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers when the two meet in the second round? Will injury-prone Sixers center Joel Embiid miss time in what is now a suddenly intriguing clash of Eastern Conference championship contenders?
Atlanta entered the postseason as a relatively nondescript fifth seed but suddenly looks dangerous after bouncing the revitalized New York Knicks in five games. Philadelphia also advanced by beating the overmatched Washington Wizards in five, but now has a huge question mark in Embiid.
With Philadelphia playing host to Atlanta in Game 1 Sunday, let’s take a look at both teams in their respective totalities, before getting to the value-packed NBA Series Odds surrounding this clash in the BetUS online sportsbook.
NBA Series Odds
Hawks Series Prices +160
76ers Series Prices -180
In the regular season, the Hawks averaged 113.7 points per game (13th) on 46.8% shooting from the field (17th) and 37.3% from 3-point distance (12th). Atlanta shot a collective 81.2% from the free-throw line to finish fifth. In five first-round games against the Knicks, the Hawks put up 104.0 points per game on 44.3% shooting from the field and 36.0% from beyond the arc while making 83.0% of their collective free throws.
Atlanta finished the regular season 12th in points allowed (111.4 PPG), 12th in defensive field goal percentage (46.3%), and third in 3-point field goal defense (34.9%). In the first round against New York, the Hawks allowed just 97.0 points per game on 39.8% shooting from the field and 34.2% from beyond the arc.
Home and Away
Atlanta went 25-11 at home in the regular season and 16-20 on the road. The Hawks come into this second-round series with a 25-13 ATS mark at home and an 18-20-1 ATS mark on the road. Atlanta won and covered the spread in both of its home games against New York in the first round.
By the Numbers
Hawks are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
Hawks are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning straight-up record.
Hawks are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight-up win.
Hawks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS win.
Hawks are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 road games.
Hawks are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600.
Under is 7-1 in Hawks’ last 8 overall.
Under is 6-1 in Hawks last 7 games following a straight-up win.
Under is 8-3 in Hawks last 11 games as an underdog.
Once you get past superstar Trae Young and sweet-shooting Bogdan Bogdanovic, I believe Atlanta’s main X-factor player is veteran center Clint Capela. Now, in his seventh season, Capela averages 15.2 points, 14.3 rebounds, and a stellar 2.0 blocks per game. Capela is one of the few big men in the league capable of making life difficult on Embiid and he could be Atlanta’s most pivotal player in this second-round matchup.
In the regular season, the 76ers averaged 113.6 points per game (14th) on 47.6% shooting from the field (8th) and 37.4% from 3-point distance (8th). Philadelphia shot a collective 76.7% from the free-throw line (20th). In five first-round games against Washington, the Sixers averaged a whopping 124.0 points per game on 51.1% shooting from the field and 37.7% from beyond the arc while making 70.5% of their collective free throws.
Philadelphia finished the regular season an impressive 6th in points allowed (108.1 PPG), 4th in defensive field goal percentage (45.3%), and ninth in 3-point field goal defense (36.0%). In the first round against Washington, the 76ers allowed 110.0 points per game on 45.8% shooting from the field and a mind-boggling 28.9% from beyond the arc.
Home and Away
The 76ers went 29-7 at home in the regular season and 20-16 on the road. Philadelphia comes into this second-round series with a 24-14-1 ATS mark at home and a 17-19-2 ATS mark on the road. The Sixers went 2-1 SU and ATS in its three home dates against Washington in the first round.
By the Numbers
76ers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
76ers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite.
76ers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 playoff games as a favorite.
76ers are 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning straight-up record.
Over is 6-1 in 76ers’ last 7 overall.
Over is 5-1 in 76ers’ last 6 home games.
Over is 4-1 in 76ers’ last 5 playoff games as a favorite.
While he only averages just over 16 minutes per game, second-year shooting guard Matisse Thybulle could be the main guy that makes life difficult for Young. Sure, Thybulle’s lack of scoring ability keeps him off the floor at times, but this dude is arguably the best perimeter defender in the entire NBA. While there are all kinds of clichés for being a lockdown defender, Thybulle truly sticks to whomever he’s guarding like glue … and I mean Krazy glue!
Philadelphia won the last two regular-season meetings against Atlanta after dropping the first regular-season meeting 112-94 on the road on Jan. 11. The 76ers beat the Hawks 127-83 in Philly on April 28 and backed that up with another emphatic 126-104 smackdown two days later. Young missed the middle game of the three matchups and Embiid was limited to 18 points or fewer in each of the last two meetings.
Philadelphia might be favored to reach the conference finals, but I genuinely believe Atlanta has a real shot of pulling off the series upset here. Embiid is an unstoppable force, but Capela is one of the few big men that can cause him problems. Not only that, but Atlanta has its own true superstar in Young.
I know Philly plays great defense and has arguably the best group of perimeter defenders in the entire NBA, but Young is more than just a scorer and averaged a stellar 9.4 assists on the season to go along with his 25.3 points per contest.
With a mind-boggling nine players that all averaged double figures in scoring in the regular season, Atlanta is as deep as any team in the league, this side of the Utah Jazz. Philadelphia only had five players average double figures in scoring and the 76ers lack of scoring off the bench could be a problem.
More importantly, Atlanta has been completely transformed by the addition of head coach Nate McMillan. Atlanta went 27-11 in 38 regular-season games under McMillan before smacking New York around the first round. While Philadelphia presents a much stiffer test, the fact is the Hawks are a very good and active defensive team under the former Supersonics, Blazers, and Pacers head coach. The Hawks are 14-6 ATS in the last 20 meetings against Philadelphia and I believe they will cover the spread more often than not in this series – while upsetting Philadelphia en route to a stunning appearance in the Eastern Conference finals.
Pick: Atlanta Hawks in 6 Games