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NBA Playoff Predictions: Hawks vs. Magic Betting | Game 1 Preview

Atlanta Hawks vs Orlando Magic | Free NBA Playoffs Pick

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Atlanta 44-38 (37-45) vs Orlando 52-30 (35-46-1 ATS)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, April 16, 2011
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Recent history: The Hawks were 3-1 vs Orlando in the regular season.
Atlanta vs. Orlando Odds: Hawks +8, Magic -8
Total: 179
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Atlanta Hawks vs Orlando Magic | Free Pick (April 16)

Orlando’s regular season has been a bit disappointing. They see themselves among the elite in the Eastern conference but no one else really sees them that way. One way to make a statement would be to jump all over the Hawks in the first game of the series but given the way they have played against them this year that seems like bit much to expect. The key for the Magic in the opener, and always, is the play of big man Dwight Howard. He needs to elevate his play.

In the one win against Atlanta this year he had 27 points but in the others he had 14, 19, and 17. In three of those game he also had five fouls. He needs to reign in some of his aggressiveness so he can stay on the floor. Sometimes that even means on the offensive end where the charges he picks up are doubly problematic. Also, I am not sure of his health status for the game 1, but if he can get out on the floor we might get more than expected from guard Gilbert Arenas. The dude is fearless which is the kind of attitude the Magic need right now to avoid early elimination.

The Atlanta Hawks enjoyed a very stable season. They planted themselves firmly in the playoff picture early and didn’t really move up or down much over the last few months. To me this means this team has kind of plateaued with their current group. They are pretty good but not exactly great.

One difference they have this year is centre Jason Collins. With so much for Orlando riding on the play of Dwight Howard the Hawks feel very comfortable with this matchup and have been dubbing him a Superman Stopper.

That might be a bit extreme but he has had success against him in the past. When Collins is on the floor it slows the team down a bit but if he can neutralize Howard than it is worth it. The Hawks also have other big bodies to throw at Howard including veterans Zaza Pachulia, Etan Thomas, and Hilton Armstrong.

Howard is noted as a poor foul shooter and this depth gives them a chance to play to this weakness late in games.

Betting Trends:
Hawks are 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 playoff games as an underdog.
Hawks are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 vs. NBA Southeast.
Hawks are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. loss.
Magic are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 playoff games as a favorite.
Magic are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 games after allowing less than 75 points in their previous game.
Magic are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. NBA Southeast.

Free Hawks vs Magic Pick: It is usually hard to bet against the home team to start the playoffs but not in this case.

I think Atlanta will use their tested formula from the regular season and escape with a victory.

Score prediction: Atlanta 97 – Orlando 94



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About The Wiesguy

The Wiesguy is a newcomer to the handicapping scene. Hailing from Toronto, Canada he is always sweet on the underdogs and you can often find his thoughts, musings and picks at moneydogs.blogspot.com.