The Hawks are the third seed in the Eastern Conference, yet they are not getting much respect in NBA betting behind Cleveland and Orlando.
Basketball betting will favor the Hawks in their first round series but they won’t be nearly as highly priced as marquee teams like Cleveland, Orlando and the Lakers. Two years ago the Hawks made the playoffs for the first time this decade and took Boston to seven games in the first round. Last year the Hawks made it to the second round before losing. This year they could go even farther. Their goal is to at least make the Eastern Conference Finals but that means they would have to beat either Cleveland or Orlando. The problem for the Hawks is that they were 0-3 this season against the Cavaliers and 1-3 against Orlando.
The Hawks may not be the favorite in basketball betting to reach the NBA Finals, but they are a very confident team. "We have a legitimate shot to play with any team and actually try to go further than we've gone in my first two years," says Atlanta’s Al Horford, "We have more experience across the board. We've been in playoff scenarios, and adding a guy who I think is the Sixth Man of the Year in Jamal Crawford has made our team that much better." Atlanta’s problem against Cleveland and Orlando is upfront. The just get killed on the boards against the Cavs and Magic. Orlando has Dwight Howard and the Hawks don’t have anyone who can handle him. The Cavaliers have Shaquille O’Neal and Zydrunas Ilgauskas and those two players give Atlanta matchup problems. The Hawks in two losses in December to Cleveland were outrebounded 87-71. In the other loss they were pounded on the glass 55-36. Orlando had a similar edge in their three wins. The Hawks realize they have to play harder than those teams to win. "Our intensity level has to be through the roof. We have to play harder than those teams," said Joe Johnson, "We have to be more physical, more relentless and more focused. We have to know that we can beat those teams. You can't go in hoping to beat them."
The Hawks have improved every season and could be a team to follow in NBA betting when the playoffs begin.