Online sports betting sites have made it clear we shouldn’t expect a tight game on Saturday, March 16 at TD Garden as the Celtics opened as 11.5 point favorites versus the Hawks. Tip off is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. EST.
That’s what happens when one of the NBA’s best defensive teams tangles with one of the league’s worst offensive teams.
The Celtics have been doing an outstanding job of making life miserable for opponents in 2018-19. They rank seventh in fewest points allowed at 107.3 points per game, and are limiting opposing teams to 45.0% from the field and 34.0% from downtown.
Boston uses its size and length to force 15.4 turnovers per game, and is 21st in the league in rebounding. Add it all up and you have a squad that can thrive even when its offense falters.
Speaking of faltering offenses, the Hawks are averaging 112.7 points on 42.0% shooting from the floor and 35.0% from beyond the arc. They rank 12th in rebounds and ninth in dimes. They’ll need to be far sharper tonight to have any chance of pulling out a victory.
These two teams have tangled three times this season, with the Hawks failing to pick up a win. The last time they clashed on January 20th, 2019, Boston won 113- 105 behind 32 points from Kyrie Irving.
The Hawks are fresh off a 132-111 win versus the Grizzlies in Atlanta in which they dished out 35 assists and had nine steals. John Collins led the way with 27 points. The Celtics, meanwhile, are coming off of a 120-126 win against the Kings in Sacramento in which they shot 9 for 28 from deep and won the war on the glass 59-53.
Overall, the Hawks have won five of their last ten games and are 12th in the Eastern Conference, while the Celtics have have come out on the losing end of five of their last ten and are fifth in the Eastern Conference.
The 11.5-point spread isn’t the only angle you can take advantage of. Sportsbooks have also set a generous over/under total of 229. Bear in mind that Atlanta is 34-35-0 against the spread this year and 39-30-0 over/under, compared to 34-34-1 ATS and 38-31-0 over/under for Boston.
Feeling intrigued? Tonight’s game gets underway soon!