For the first time since the 2012-13 NBA betting season, the New York Knicks are back in the Playoffs after putting forth one of the more memorable campaigns the Big Apple has witnessed in quite some time. Same goes for the Atlanta Hawks who as a franchise last got a taste of postseason basketball back in 2016. Though both squads have loads of playoff inexperience littered up and down their respective rosters, there’s still plenty of star power lacing ‘em up in what online sportsbooks expect to be a competitive series. Though the Knicks swept the season rivalry and own home court advantage throughout, the Hawks enter Game 1 the -123 favorite to take the series down. That’s quite surprising considering Julius Randle and company won all three regular season meetings and covered the closing NBA odds each time. However, they did so as underdogs each time but Game 1 currently has them listed as the short chalk. Something about that stinks to high hell, and it’s one of the main reasons why I’ll be riding Trae Young and his mates in the series opener.
Game 1 of the best-of-seven series between the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks will tip-off on Sunday, May 23, 2021 from the Madison Square Garden. We'll have NBA playoff odds and player props available at BookMaker.eu for this and every game going on today’s NBA slate.
NBA Betting Lines at BookMaker.eu
Atlanta Hawks +1.5
New York Knicks -1.5
There’s been no movement whatsoever in terms of the pointspread and total since each impost hit the betting board earlier in the week. New York remains the 1.5-point favorite and the total still resides at 215. As astounding that is considering the Knicks have taken in 71 percent of the early handle and 81 percent of the early money, it’s also quite telling that sportsbooks have no issues fielding as much Knickerbocker money as the betting public is willing to give up. Atlanta was one of the best bets in the league in going 39-32-1 ATS overall. However, 23 of those pointspread covers came at home while only 16 were tallied on the road. The Knicks went 45-26-1 ATS in the regular season and proved to be moneymakers at home in going 22-13-1 versus the closing number. The Knicks saw the under cash at a 40-32 clip, while the Hawks played to the under in 37 of their 72 played games. And wouldn’t you know it, these teams played to high scorers in two of their three meetings with an average of 240 points scored per game.
The key to the Hawks overall success begins and ends with Young whose ability to break defenses down and get all his teammates involved went a long way in getting Atlanta back into the playoffs. Young averages a near double-double per game with 25.3 points and 9.4 assists. In the three matchups with the Knicks, he upped his output to 24.7 points and 12 assists per game. His ability to weave in and out of traffic is one of the main reasons why the Hawks were so improved as a team in the turnover department. Their drop in turnover rate was bigger than any other team from a year ago! But in order to see this one all the way through, Young must get some help from his friends. Clint Capela and John Collins must continue coming up big down low!
New York Knicks
What a sensational job Tom Thibodeau did with the Knicks to turn the fledgling franchise around in a matter of a season. Remember, New York only tallied 21 wins in 2019-20 and he largely worked with the exact same roster that earned that futile record this year. The end result was a 41-31 SU record that earned the Knicks the No. 4 seed in the East; a 20-game improvement! The recipe for success ultimately proved to be playing a more tenacious brand of defensive basketball. NY trimmed the points it allowed per game from 112.3 to 104.7, while the offense went from averaging 117.8 points per game to 120.1. Randle is the team’s superstar, but he’s going to need major help throughout this series as Atlanta’s bigs look to wear him down.
Atlanta vs. New York Prediction
Each of these teams played some tremendous basketball down the stretch to punch their respective tickets into the playoffs. Atlanta closed the year 7-1 SU and 5-3 ATS while New York won seven of its final 10 games and covered six of them against the spread. While the Knicks swept the season rivalry, two of the wins occurred with former Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce calling the shots. They won those games by the aggregate score of 236-220. The lone game Nate McMillan coached, Atlanta allowed the Knicks to comeback in the fourth quarter to force overtime where Atlanta would ultimately fall by 10 points in a game they went off the board as short 1.5-point favorites to win. NY needed to drain 19 of 35 from beyond the arc and get 40 from Randle to pull out the comeback win! Listen, NY is a fun story. It’s great to have the Knicks back in the postseason. However, I believe the Hawks are the better and more explosive team. Because of it, I expect Young and company claim home court advantage and get out to the 1-0 series lead.
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