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The 7-seed Atlanta Hawks (0-2) need their Game 3 Eastern Conference 1st Round meeting with the 2-seed Boston Celtics (2-0) like blood. No team has ever won a playoff series after losing the 1st three games.
Boston beat Atlanta by 13 in each of the 1st two games: 112-99 in Game 1 and 119-106 in Game 2. Celtics G Derrick White of all people has been the best player in this series thus far.
White is averaging 25.0 points per game (PPG), 6.0 rebounds, and 4.5 assists and has a +32 net rating. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are scoring a combined 52.0 PPG as well.
Boston’s defense has done a phenomenal job bottling up Trae Young. He is averaging just 20.0 PPG on 43.7% true shooting (.350/.231/.692) with a -30 net rating.
The Celtics have won and covered all five meetings with the Hawks in 2022-23, including the regular season. Atlanta is 1-6 straight up (SU) and 2-5 against the spread (ATS) in the last two postseasons.
Celtics at Hawks, Game 3 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
- Tip-off: 7 p.m. ET on Friday, April 21st.
- Venue: State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
While I cannot talk myself into backing Atlanta to bust this slump, I’m also not seeing a lot of value in Boston laying the points. The Celtics opened as -4 favorites and has been steamed up to -5.5 at some shops so the good numbers are gone.
But, I caught DraftKings slipping on their Celtics-Hawks Game 3 total and I’m swooping in. Several oddsmakers have this total set at 228.5, including Pinnacle Sportsbook, which is the sharpest shop in town known for booking the largest sports bets.
Boston at Atlanta total of 228
There are a lot of Under-friendly trends in Celtics-Hawks Game 3. Boston is 14-19-1 Over/Under (O/U) as road favorites this season, Atlanta is 2-5 O/U as home ‘dogs, and Celtics-Hawks are 2-7 O/U in their last nine meetings.
Also, Atlanta has the lowest offensive free-throw-attempt rate (FTr) in these playoffs thus far and Boston has the 3rd-lowest offensive FTr. But, I think that changes for Game 3 due to the referee assignments.
All four officials for this Game 3 have refereed more Overs than Unders. The officiating crew for Celtics-Hawks has a combined 145-106 Over/Under (O/U), which is 57.8% to the Over. Each of them have an average PPG total above 228.
The 1st two games of this series went Under the total and the public has been burned. There’s more money on the Over at DraftKings than bets placed. This suggests professional bettors are hitting the Over harder.
They say “necessity is the mother of invention” and the Hawks need a victory. Their offense is far more reliable than their defense and it will be “all hands on deck” in Atlanta for Game 3.
Celtics-Hawks has the 3rd-fastest pace of any playoff series thus far. Boston’s offense looks unstoppable and Atlanta’s offense should get a home-court boost. Plus role players perform better at home (more on that below).
BET: OVER 228 (-110) in Celtics-Hawks Game 3 at DraftKings, up to 229
PS Player Prop: Hawks SG Bogdan Bogdanović Points Prop (12.5)
- OVER 12.5 POINTS: (-125)
- Under 12.5 points: (-105)
Bogdanović has the highest true shooting rate for Atlanta in this series at 63.0% (.476/.429/1.000). After a lackluster 9-point Game 1 performance, Bogdanović scored 18 in Game 2 Tuesday.
He didn’t play in any of the three Celtics-Hawks regular season meetings. But, last season, Bogdanović averaged 20.5 PPG in four meetings vs. Boston on 62.2% true shooting (.484/.361/1.000).
This season, Bogdanović has scored at least 13 points in 29 of his 54 games played. Bogdanović had his minutes upped to 33:01 in Game 2. He has gone Over 12.5 points in 13 of his 21 games with 30 minutes of action..
BET: Bogdan Bogdanović Over 12.5 points (-125) in Celtics-Hawks Game 3 at DraftKings
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