NBA Eastern Conference First Round Betting Picks: #4 Washington Wizards vs #5 Atlanta Hawks

2017 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference First Round
#4 Washington Wizards vs #5 Atlanta Hawks
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Series Price: Wizards -205 / Hawks +188 (Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbooks)

Game #1 – Sunday, April 16, 2017, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Verizon Center – Washington, District of Columbia
Opening Line: Washington -5
Current Line: Washington -5
Opening Total: 212
Current Total: 209
Opening Money Line: Wizards -210 / Hawks +175
Current Money Line: Wizards -210 / Hawks +175

The Wizards and Hawks meet in the first round of the playoffs starting Sunday in Washington.

The 49-33 Washington Wizards will take on the Southeast Division rival Atlanta Hawks who are 43-39 in the first round of the playoffs. The Wizards are the #4 seed in the East and the Hawks are the #5 seed. The winner will face either the #1 seed Boston Celtics or #8 Chicago Bulls in the second round.

Washington won the regular season series 3-1 against Atlanta. The Hawks won the first game of the regular season 114-99 at home against the Wizards. Washington won at home 95-92 November 4, in Atlanta 112-86 January 27 and at home 104-100 March 22. The Wizards won the division title by 6 games over the Hawks. Atlanta beat Washington in the second round of the 2015 playoffs in six games.

Atlanta is coached by Mike Budenholzer. The Hawks are in the playoffs for the ninth straight season. Atlanta is 39-43 ATS and the total is 32-48-2 this season. Atlanta lost at the Indiana Pacers 104-86 to close out the regular season Wednesday night to snap a four game winning streak.

Washington is coached by Scott Brooks. The Wizards return to the playoffs after missing last year. Washington is 42-39-1 ATS and the total is 51-31 this season. The Wizards lost at the Miami Heat 110-104 to close out the regular season Wednesday night.

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Atlanta is being outscored 104-103 this season. The Hawks are #10 in points allowed but #22 in scoring. Atlanta is shooting 45.1% from the field and 34.1% from 3 point range. Atlanta is shooting  72.8% from the free throw line and are #28 in that category. Opponents are shooting 44.4% from the field and 35.7% from 3 point range. The Hawks are #5 in field goal defense. Atlanta averages 44.4 rebounds and opponents average 43.9 per game. The Hawks are #9 in rebounding. Atlanta averages 23.6 assists, 14.2 turnovers, 8.2 steals and 4.8 blocks per game.

Forward Paul Millsap averages 18.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.  Dennis Schroder averages 17.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1 steal per game. Tim Hardaway, Jr. averages 14.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Dwight Howard averages 13.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. Howard is probable with a back injury.  Kent Bazemore averages 11 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game.  Ersan Ilyasova averages 10.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists. Thabo Sefolosha, Mike Muscala, Taurean Prince, Mike Dunleavy, Malcolm Delaney, Kris Humphries and Jose Calderon will alos get minutes in the rotation.

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Washington is outscoring teams 109-107 this season. The Wizards are #5 in scoring but #21 in points allowed in the NBA. Washington is shooting 47.5% from the field and 37.2% from 3 point range. The Wizards are in the top ten in both categories. Washington makes 78.4% from the free throw line. Opponents are shooting 46.6% from the field and 36.4% from 3 point range. Washington is #20 or worse in both categories. The Wizards average 42.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 43 per game. The Wizards average 23.9 assists, 13.5 turnovers, 8.5 steals and 4.1 blocks per game.

John Wall averages 23.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 10.7 assists and 2 blocks per game. He is probable with a quad injury. Bradley Beal averages 23.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Markieff Morris averages 14 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Otto Porter, Jr. averages 13.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Bojan Bogdanovic averages 12.7 points and 3.1 assists per game.  Marcin Gortat averages 10.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Marcus Thornton, Kelly Oubre, Jr., Jason Smith, Ian Mahinmi. Trey Burke and Brandon Jennings will also get time in the rotation. Mahinmi is out until late April with a calf injury.

Atlanta is 5-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 4-1 overall, against Eastern Conference teams, and against teams with winning home records, 5-2 in road games, 2-5 after a double digit loss, 4-11 on three days rest and against Southeast teams, 3-9 after a straight up loss, and 1-4 in Sunday games. The underdog is 5-2 ATS in this series recently.

Washington is 6-0 ATS in first round games, 5-2 against Eastern Conference teams, 21-10-1 after a cover, 2-6 at home, 2-7 after a straight up loss, and 1-6 against teams with winning records. The under is 4-1 both overall and in Washington between the teams.

Washington is clearly a better team as evidenced by finishing six games ahead of Atlanta in the division. However, the Hawks are a veteran team with tons of playoff experience. The Wizards have the weakness as the Cleveland Cavaliers, and that is defense. Still, I like the Wizards to win in six games, and it starts with a tight game one victory.

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