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2011 NBA Playoff Odds: Hawks vs. Bulls Preview | Pick

EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF Predictions: Hawks vs Bulls Series Preview

Before nba betting fans turn their attention to NBA Playoff basketball betting events this week, we have some more good NBA first round series Previews on tap, and our man Lawrence weighs in with his picks for the series. It’s time for our weekly hoops picks for NBA gambling action.

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#5 ATLANTA vs. #1 CHICAGO PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Game 1 – Mon May 2, Atlanta at Chicago, 8 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 2 – Wed May 4, Atlanta at Chicago, 8 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 – Fri May 6 , Chicago at Atlanta, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 4 – Sun May 8 , Chicago at Atlanta, 8 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 5 – Tue May 10, Atlanta at Chicago, TBD, TNT (if necessary)
Game 6 – Thu May 12 , Chicago at Atlanta, TBD, ESPN (if necessary)
Game 7 – Sun May 15 , Atlanta at Chicago, TBD, TNT (if necessary)
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Odds to win Series
Chicago -1100
Atlanta +750

Odds to win Eastern Conference
Chicago 7/5
Atlanta 10/1

Odds to win NBA title
Chicago 13/4
Atlanta 35/1

The Hawks. The Hawks???!!!???

Maybe we, as George Bush liked to say, misunderestimated these guys. Maybe they aren’t really a bunch of slugs who blow off their coach, play only when they get the urge to play and care more about their entourages than the fans. What other conclusion can we take from their stunning 6-game demolition of the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference opening round series?

Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, Al Horford, Josh Smith and rest of the Hawks get a chance to stun the basketball world a second time as they get set to take on the Bulls in an Eastern Conference semifinal that not even Hawks fans saw coming after Atlanta shrugged its way into the playoffs with a 6-game losing streak to end the season.

Chicago is the overall 1 seed in the playoffs, but there’s clearly not too much air between the Bulls and several other teams which all feel they have a shot at things. Derrick Rose’s ankle appears fine and he’s still a kid with boundless energy, but the Bulls’ chances of getting to The Finals depend on whether Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer etc. can step up their game as teams concentrate more and more on stopping the consensus MVP.

One troubling sign emerged from the Bulls’ 5-game series win over the Pacers – Chicago appears to have trouble adjusting when 3-point shots don’t fall. The Bulls struggled early in the series when they shot 3s in the low 30-percent range, and Indiana was only a few possessions from making it a 6- or 7-game situation. But Game 7 was a mismatch as soon as Chicago’s 3s started to drop – the Bulls were 14 for 31 beyond the arc. Indiana was late adjusting and the Bulls won the clincher by 27.

Atlanta may not be the best defensive team in the league, but the Hawks appear to have bought in at least a little to Larry Drew’s spread-the-wealth philosophy. The offense is tighter, with a little more ball movement, and that helps keep the defense off its heels.

So here’s the question: Are the Hawks legit, or just the hoop version of a 15-handicapper whose tee shot on a par 3 hits a rock and careens 30 yards onto the green and into the cup for a hole in one?

Probably the latter. But if the Bulls are ready to mail in a few games, maybe the Hawks can make things interesting.

The pick: Chicago in 5. The margin for error is just too small for the Hawks to take this to even 6 games. The Bulls will contest on the perimeter, Atlanta will eventually tire of chasing Rose up and down the court, and Atlanta has no one to stop Rose from getting to the rim. If the Hawks have shown anything over the last 6 months, it’s that they have no problem folding up their tents when things go south.

Matter of time here as Chicago gets to nail this one down early and start scouting the Miami-Boston series.

Lawrence Paul is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog, and is a free-lance gambling expert from Massachusetts.

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About Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!


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