The Boston Celtics will be searching for their first straight-up victory in Atlanta since 2013 when they take on the Hawks in Game 1 of their NBA first-round playoff series on Saturday night as 5-point betting underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Boston has come up short in each of its last three meetings with Atlanta entering Saturday’s Celtics vs. Hawks betting matchup at Philips Arena. The Celtics also trail on the series prices, pegged as +170 underdogs to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in four years.
The Celtics enjoyed a successful campaign, finishing tied with the Hawks, Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets at 48-34, but were forced to settle for fifth place in the Eastern Conference based on tiebreakers.
Boston struggled with consistency down the stretch, going 10-9 SU in its final 19 contests, and has been a shaky bet, posting just seven against-the-spread wins in its final 20 games while going 4-6 SU and 2-8 ATS and in its past 10 road dates, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.
The Hawks are a middling 3-4 SU in their past seven games, covering in just two of their final eight outings. However, that letdown came following a torrid 14-3 SU run that lifted Atlanta back into the top half of the Eastern Conference standings following a lengthy mid-winter slump and now earns them -238 odds to knock off the Celtics in the first round on the series prices.
The Toronto Raptors also open the postseason as NBA series betting chalk, sporting strong -337 odds to prevail in their series against the Indiana Pacers and avoid an opening-round exit from the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history.
The Raptors set a franchise record with 56 wins this season, finishing just one game back of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the hunt for top spot in the East after going unbeaten in their final four regular-season contests, including a 111-98 home victory over Indiana.
The Pacers also finished on a roll, winning six of seven to edge Detroit for the No. 7 seed, but are just 2-8 SU in their last 10 games against Toronto.
The Pistons travel to Cleveland for Game 1 of their opening-round matchup with the Cavaliers on Sunday as heavy +800 series underdogs at the sportsbooks, while the Cavs sport strong -2564 odds.
There is far less breathing room on the NBA series odds in the first-round matchup between the Heat and the Hornets, with Miami returning to the playoffs as -171 chalk while Charlotte closely trails as +125 underdogs.
Thumbnail photo via Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports Images
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