If the online betting trend continues, the Boston Celtics will tied their series with Atlanta tonight on Game 6, as they make their last stand at the TD Garden. The story in this series has been all about winning at home and losing on the road, and since the Hawks have home field advantage, at this point it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Atlanta will move on to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round. Atlanta is the odds favorite at -128 versus Boston (+108) tonight.
In addition to validating their status at home once more tonight, The Celtics would have to do the seemingly impossible – steal one at Atlanta – to upset the Hawks, and even then it would only to make it to another series in which their opponents would have home-court advantage. Boston have been the perfect dinner guest as of late; bringing a bottle of wine, and cake, helping with the dishes, leaving early, and sending a thank you note the morning after. And they need to be the kind of guest that is too loud, double-dips, steals the silverware, and clogs the toilet. And the same goes for the Hawks tonight if they want to avoid a 7th game – even if it’s at home.
The obvious Achilles’s heel for the Celtics is ironically their greatest strength. Isaiah Thomas playing through injury could do more bad than good to Boston’s sports betting odds. There is indeed something to be said for putting your team’s honor before reason, but arguably he’s just making defense easier for the Hawks. True, he went Gone with the Wind on Atlanta in games 3 and 4. On the other hand, he went scoreless in the first half of game 5 and finished with seven points that made no difference in the end as the Hawks trapped him repeatedly to get the ball out of his hands.
Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer praised his team’s effort in Game 5, in spite of a slow start. He pointed out following the game that they needed to apply the same approach on the road in Game 6. As we have noted, the home team has won each game of the series so far but Atlanta has the chance now to break that hex and walk away with the victory, and wrap up the series as well. Online betting odds back them, they have regained the momentum after getting sidetracked for two games in a row, and are facing a team whose star is not a hundred percent physically. They really could not ask for a more favorable scenario. As they say, it is up to them.