NBA Betting Preview: Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic

By: Brad Young | Monday, April 18, 2011

The first round of the NBA Playoffs saw a couple of notable upsets in the opening games, but now it’s time to see if the underdogs can continue cashing money-line tickets.

Atlanta (45-38 straight up, 38-45 against the spread) shocked Orlando (52-31 SU, 35-47-1 ATS) in Saturday’s opener, a year after getting swept out of the postseason and losing all four games to the Magic by a combined 101 points.

Don Best's Real-Time Odds shows Orlando as an 8 ½-point home ‘chalk’ over Atlanta, while the total opened at 182 ½ before moving to 183 ½.  NBA-TV will provide coverage of Tuesday’s Game 2 beginning at 4:35 p.m. PT from Amway Center.

The Hawks triumphed in Game 1 as an 8 ½-point road underdog, 103-93, while the combined 196 points eclipsed the 180 ½-point closing total.  The ‘under’ had cashed the previous six meetings between these squads, and is now 19-7 the last 26 encounters.

Atlanta took control of the contest by outscoring Orlando in the second quarter, 38-29, and never trailed the rest of the game.  The Hawks led by as many as 18 points at one time, and finished the contest with advantages in assists, 19-15, and turnovers forced, 18-9.  Those 18 turnovers directly led to 21 points.

Atlanta shot a robust 51 percent (38-of-74) from the field, and 43 percent (6-of-14) from behind the arc.  During one stretch of the second and third quarters, the Hawks shot a blistering 18-of-24 from the field.

Shooting guard Joe Johnson paced the offense with 25 points, five rebounds and five assists, while guard Jamal Crawford added 23.  Center Al Horford contributed 16 points and six boards, while power forward Josh Smith had 15 and eight.

Orlando grabbed more rebounds than the Hawks, 40-29, and scored more points in the paint, 48-36.  The Magic finished the game by shooting 45 percent (34-of-75) from the field, and 27 percent (6-of-22) from 3-point land.

Center Dwight Howard led all scorers with 46 points and 19 rebounds, becoming the first NBA player with at least 45 points and 15 boards to lose a playoff game since Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon in 1987.  Guard Jameer Nelson netted 27 points in the loss, while no other Orlando player reached double digits.

The Magic are just 10-13 when Howard takes 16 shots or more from the field.  When the 25-year-old shoots 10 times or less from the field, Orlando maintains a 17-3 ledger.  Howard was 16-of-23 from the field in Saturday’s setback, and 14-of-22 from the free-throw line.

Atlanta has seen the ‘under’ go 8-3 its last 11 games overall, and the ‘under’ is also 11-5 the previous 16 road endeavors.  Orlando dropped to 2-8 ATS its past 10 home games.

Neither team is reporting any injuries heading into Tuesday’s Game 2.

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