NBA

NBA playoffs, betting odds, picks: Hawks-Knicks a tough call, but one adjustment vs. Trae Young could be key

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All three of Wednesday’s underdogs won Game 1 of their series against the spread, and two of them won outright, but it wasn’t easy for any of them. The Memphis Grizzlies overcame a 14-point lead to stun the top-ranked Utah Jazz, and while the Washington Wizards led for parts of Game 1 against the Philadelphia 76ers, they were outclassed enough in the second half to make Wizards bettors sweat out the fourth quarter. The Atlanta Hawks’ Game 1 battle with the New York Knicks went down to the wire and could have gone either way. 

In that sense, no single outcome was definitive enough to be reliable for Game 2. We’re going to have to look at what works on a matchup-by-matchup basis to pick today’s winners, and with that in mind, this slate looks more favorable to the favorites than Sunday did. 

All lines via William Hill Sportsbook

Featured Game | Philadelphia 76ers vs. Washington Wizards

The 76ers beat the Wizards by 20 points with Joel Embiid on the floor in Game 1. The problem is that he only played 30 minutes, and they lost the other 18 minutes by 13. This is a standard playoff problem for the 76ers, but Embiid should be expected to play more in Game 2. After all, he was likely rusty after not playing in a game for nine days. Washington has no real answer for Philadelphia’s star center, and if the 76ers exploit that advantage more aggressively, they should win this comfortably.

Featured Game | New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks

This is a game you should avoid, honestly. Julius Randle played one of his worst games of the year in Game 1, but dominated Atlanta in the regular season. It’s still too early to say in which direction he’ll lean for the rest of this series, but Trae Young thrived in his matchup with 32 points and 10 assists. New York could divert minutes away from Elfrid Payton and toward Frank Ntilikina in the hopes of slowing him down, as it did in the final minute of Game 1, but Tom Thibodeau has thus far shown no inclination toward doing that. If he does? The Knicks are in much better shape. If not? Expect another strong outing from Young. Considering Thibodeau’s track record, the latter seems slightly likelier.

Featured Game | Utah Jazz vs. Memphis Grizzlies

The Jazz went 31-5 at home this regular season, shot 25.5 percent from 3 in Game 1 and didn’t have Donovan Mitchell. We know they’ll have Mitchell for Game 2, and logic dictates they’ll regress closer to the mean from behind the arc as well. If Mitchell is anywhere close to 100 percent, Utah’s home dominance should carry it to a statement win in Game 2.



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