I cannot pretend I expected the Atlanta Hawks to force a Game 6 against the Boston Celtics. That was especially true when Boston led by 13 points with six minutes to play.
In my defense, teams facing elimination were 0-183 when trailing by 13 points with six minutes to play over the past 25 years. So Tuesday’s feat was not exactly a common occurrence.
Still, we should give Atlanta credit for coming through in the clutch. And it gives us yet another chance to extract some value from this series.
With that in mind, here are my Celtics vs Hawks best bets for Game 6.
Celtics vs Hawks Game 6 Odds
NBA odds used for these best bets are current as of Wednesday, April 26, at 1 p.m. ET and were found at BetMGM Sportsbook.
- Moneyline: Celtics (-250) • Hawks (+195)
- Spread: Celtics -5.5 (-115) • Hawks +5.5 (-105)
- Total Points: Over 231.5 (-110) • Under 231.5 (-110)
Celtics vs Hawks Game 6 Prediction
Celtics 123, Hawks 116
My prediction for Game 5 was Celtics 125, Hawks 109. If you just saw the final score, it looks pretty bad.
But through 42 of the 48 minutes played, it was quite the opposite.
The score with six minutes remaining was 109-96. At that point, the game was on pace to finish 125-110 in favor of Boston.
And then the wheels came off for the Celtics.
Of course, there are 48 minutes in a basketball game, not 42. So it is what it is — a loss for both Boston and myself — but I expect Boston to put forth a better effort and close this series out on Thursday.
Celtics vs Hawks Game 6 Best Bets
Over 231.5 Total Points (-110) • BetMGM Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
Game 5 was the first in this series in which Boston scored fewer points than the game before. The main issue for the Celtics in the last game was that they were not hitting their three-pointers.
Boston shot just 12-for-38 from beyond the arc in Game 5. Its 31.6% hit rate was far and away their lowest of the series. Boston’s previous low was 39.4% in Game 1.
Jayson Tatum was particularly awful from long distance. Tuesday marked the 105th game in his career (including the postseason) in which he attempted at least 10 three-pointers, and it was the first time in those 105 games he failed to hit multiple threes.
- Wager on our Celtics vs Hawks Prop Bets for Game 6.
Having said all that, the Celtics still scored 117 and shot 53.3% from the field. I am not worried about Boston’s ability to score points at all.
Boston’s defense was a bit of a mixed bag. It blocked shot attempts from Trae Young alone, but it also permitted the Hawks outside of Young to shoot 50 percent from deep.
The Celtics also forced just eight turnovers.
With Dejounte Murray back in the fold, Atlanta’s offense should remain effective in Game 6. I expect this game to exceed Vegas’ total of 231.5 points, which is why it is my NBA bet of the day.
Celtics -5.5 (-110) • BetMGM Sportsbook
WAGER: 0.5 Units
I am going a bit light on my exposure here. The fact that Boston lost on Tuesday was not as bothersome to me as much as how they lost.
It feels like Boston took Atlanta a bit lightly at both the start and finish of Game 5. ITItdid not force much defensive pressure early on and let Atlanta get into a rhythm.
Young was hitting uncontested floaters, and the Hawks were getting putbacks off offensive rebounds.
Once it looked like Boston was putting the game away in the fourth quarter, the intensity was no longer there. It was a bit surprising coming from a veteran team that is aware of what is at stake.
I still believe Boston is the superior team, and IT will figure out a way to win this game and cover the spread. However, I am dropping my bet size to 0.5 units just in case it decides to sleepwalk its way through another game here.
Celtics vs Hawks Game 5
- Prediction: Celtics 125, Hawks 109
- Result: Hawks 119, Celtics 117
Celtics vs Hawks Game 4
- Prediction: Celtics 115, Hawks 105
- Result: Celtics 129, Hawks 121
Celtics vs Hawks Game 3
- Prediction: Celtics 113, Hawks 106
- Result: Hawks 130, Celtics 122
Celtics vs Hawks Game 2
- Prediction: Celtics 126, Hawks 112
- Result: Celtics 119, Hawks 106
Celtics vs Hawks Game 1
- Prediction: Celtics 125, Hawks 110
- Result: Celtics 112, Hawks 99
Celtics vs Hawks Series Preview
Last season, the Boston Celtics represented the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. To get back to the Finals, they must first go through the Atlanta Hawks.
Their first-round matchup begins this Saturday.
Can the Hawks pull off the upset? Or will they be a minor speed bump on the road back to the Finals for Boston?
Here are my Celtics vs Hawks series predictions and prop bets.
Celtics vs Hawks Series Odds
To Win Series: Celtics (-1000) • Hawks (+650)
The sportsbooks expect the Celtics to win this series pretty easily. It is hard to argue that when looking at the teams involved.
Having said that, it does not make much financial sense to bet on a 10:1 favorite outright. The reward does not outweigh the risk. Therefore, I would advise betting on some series props instead.
NBA odds used for these best bets are current as of Friday, April 14, at 7:00 AM ET and were found at FanDuel and DraftKings Sportsbook.
Celtics vs Hawks Series Prediction
Celtics Win 4-1
Boston won the season series by a 3-0 margin, though we can throw out Sunday’s game. Still, the Celtics have proven to be the superior squad.
With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the charge, I expect Boston to handle Atlanta with relative ease. The Hawks can put up points with the best of them, but they cannot match Boston’s effort on the defensive end.
Even if Trae Young can navigate his way through Marcus Smart’s coverage, I do not think there is enough firepower around him to combat the gaudy numbers that Tatum and Brown are capable of putting up on a nightly basis.
I see multiple paths to Atlanta winning a single game in this series. However, I am hard-pressed to imagine that this will remain a competitive series over the long haul.
I expect Boston to have a relatively smooth path to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Celtics vs Hawks Series Best Bets
Boston Celtics to Lead 2-1 After 3 Games (+110) • FanDuel Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 unit
I love this NBA bet of the day because I believe it can hit in a variety of ways. While Boston is a huge favorite to win this series, anything can happen in a single game.
Though they may not be on Boston’s level, Atlanta will put up a fight.
The Celtics also seem to have a bad habit of letting inferior opponents hang around in games, particularly on their home floor. Their record ATS as huge favorites at home is rather poor, and it’s not crazy to think that Atlanta can steal a game in Boston.
It is also possible that Boston takes care of business and wins both home games, but Atlanta wins Game 3 with their backs against the wall. Either way, I like the odds of Boston heading into Game 4 up two games to one.
Series to Last Exactly 5 Games (+185) • DraftKings Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 unit
It feels like a lot to ask to expect the Hawks to win this series or to extend it to its limit. Boston is the more talented team, and they have the playoff experience to handle this situation.
The Celtics will likely have to go through a gauntlet that includes Philadelphia and Milwaukee to
get back to the NBA Finals. That means they can ill afford to let up and let the Hawks hang around in this series.