|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBAThe Boston Celtics won the Atlantic Division title this year but they actually have a lower record than what their first round opponent has. The 39-27 Celtics will be playing with the 40-26 Atlanta Hawks in the first round. The Celtics have the home court advantage on principle of winning their division and will start the series from the TD Garden on Sunday night.
Both teams lost in the conference semifinals last year. The Celtics will be going for their eighteenth title while the Hawks will be trying to win it all for the first time since 1958. Boston had a 2-1 advantage during the regular season against Atlanta. The Hawks had a 97-92 in their last game with the Celtics on April 20.
Ray Allen has been upgraded to a probable status for the start of the series. Allen has been out for the last two weeks with ankle issues. Rajon Rondo, who has 11.7 assists per game, will also be playing after having missed three games recently with a back injury. He has returned to the court but he did not tally a single point on Thursday against Milwaukee. He did get fifteen assists though. Paul Pierce still tops the Celtics with a little over nineteen points per game.
The Atlanta Hawks have some injury issues for the start of the basketball betting playoffs. Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia are both expected to miss the start of this series. In fact, only two players with the Hawks have played in more than sixty games this year.
Jeff Teague, who has played in every game this year, has 12.6 points per game and had his best scoring total during April. Joe Johnson is still on top with not only 18.8 points per game but also a free throw percentage of 85%.
Boston and Atlanta are both long shots for the NBA title. Boston's NBA odds of winning the title are 20/1 while Atlanta has 60/1 odds.