Atlanta and Orlando collide in the NBA Playoffs for the second consecutive season, but the Hawks are hoping for a vastly different outcome. Last year's second-round series was completely one-sided, with the Magic sweeping Atlanta and winning the games by an average of 25 points.
Don Best's Real-Time Odds lists Orlando as eight-point home ‘chalk’ over Atlanta, with Game 1's total set at 179 ½.
The Magic are also installed as decided minus 600 favorites to win this series, while the Hawks are a plus-475 underdog.
ESPN will provide coverage of Saturday’s series opener beginning at 4:00 p.m. PT from Orlando’s Amway Center.
The good news for fifth-seed Atlanta (44-28 straight up, 37-45 against the spread) is it went 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS versus Orlando this season. The Hawks were a dismal 2-10 SU the previous 12 encounters with the Magic.
The ‘under’ is also a stellar 9-1 the past 10 games in this series, and 19-7 the previous 26 meetings.
The bad news for Atlanta is the fact that the team ended the regular season by losing its last six games SU, and final five ATS. That marks the Hawks' longest SU losing skid the past three years.
Atlanta concluded the regular campaign with Wednesday’s setback to Charlotte as a 1 ½-point road underdog, 96-85. The combined 181 points failed to topple the 192-point closing total, helping the ‘under’ cash the third consecutive contest. The ‘under’ is now 11-4 in Atlanta’s last 15 road endeavors.
The Hawks rested many of their starters to remain fresh for the playoffs, and finished the contest by shooting 43 percent (34-of-79) from the field and a dismal 1-of-8 from behind the arc. Both teams grabbed 37 rebounds, while Atlanta was on the short end of assists, 27-16.
Backup center Josh Powell paced the offense with 16 points and five rebounds, while forward Damien Wilkins provided 14 and four. Guard Jamal Crawford accounted for 14 in the setback, while guard Kirk Hinrich had 10.
Fourth-seed Orlando (52-30 SU, 35-46-1 ATS) finished the regular season eight games ahead of Atlanta in the Southeast Division standings. The Magic concluded the regular season by going 4-1 SU and ATS their last five games.
Orlando cruised past Indiana Wednesday as a 5 ½-point home favorite, 92-74, while the combined 166 points never seriously threatened the 193-point closing total. The ‘under’ has cashed their last two outings, and the ‘under’ is now 20-6 their previous 26 home contests.
The Magic dominated the Pacers on the glass, 55-35, while also recording more points in the paint, 34-18, and delivering more assists, 17-16. Orlando finished the contest by shooting 44 percent (32-of-73) from the field, and 31 percent 8-of-26) from 3-point land.
Power forward Ryan Anderson posted 14 points and seven rebounds in the victory, while center Dwight Howard provided 13 and 13. Small forward Hedo Turkoglu accounted for 13 and five, while forward Brandon Bass had 12 and six.
Atlanta center Jason Collins (ankle injury) is ‘probable’ for Saturday’s contest versus the Magic. Orlando guard Gilbert Arenas (knee) and forward Brandon Bass (Achilles) are ‘probable’ against the Hawks, while guard JJ Redick (abdominal) is ‘questionable.’