Odds say Cleveland, but when have odds ever said Hawks?

The Hawks will try to keep that winning feeling going against Cleveland in the Eastern Conference finals. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

The Hawks will try to keep that winning feeling going against Cleveland in the Eastern Conference finals.  (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

The Hawks will try to keep that winning feeling going against Cleveland in the Eastern Conference finals. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Seven months ago, the guys with big buildings on Las Vegas Blvd. set the Hawks’ over/under at 41 victories in the regular season. They undershot their total by 19, like pretty much the rest of us. (Preseason conversation: Chris Vivlamore: “I’m trying to decide if this team can win 50 games.” Me: “Are you off your meds again?” I was thinking 45…maybe.)

Nobody projected greatness for this team before, so there’s no reason to start now, right?

According to various odds websites, the Hawks rank third or four among the four remaining teams to win the NBA title. The consensus favored matchup is Cleveland (East) vs. Golden State (West). The consensus long shot: Hawks (East) vs. Houston (West).

The Hawks are a one-point favorite over Cleveland in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Thursday night at Philips Arena. Golden State is favored by 10 over Houston in the Western Conference opener Wednesday night.

As for the series, here’s how a few odds site see it:

• SPORTSBOOK.AG: Title odds: Golden State 1/2, Cleveland 14/5, Houston 10/1, Hawks 13/1. Conference odds: East: Cleveland 1/2, West: Golden State: 2/13.

• ODDSSHARK.COM: Title odds: Golden State 4/7, Cleveland 9/4, Hawks 8-1, Houston 10-1. Conference odds: East: Cleveland 1/2. West: Golden State 1/5.

• BOVADA.LV: Title odds: Golden State 4/7, Cleveland 13/5, Hawks 9/1, Houston 10/1. Conference odds: East: Cleveland 1/2. West: Golden State 1/7. Exact finals match-up: Cleveland-Golden State 1/2; Hawks-Golden State 2/1; Cleveland-Houston 10/1; Hawks-Houston 18/1.

• 5DIMES.EU: Title odds: Golden State 2/3, Cleveland 5/2, Hawks 17/2, Houston 14/1. Exact finals match-up: Cleveland-Golden State 2/3; Hawks-Golden State 2/1; Cleveland-Houston 19-2; Hawks-Houston 37/2.

That’s what they think. What do you think?

Recent ramblings
— AJC: Hawks in conference finals — and so is Josh Smith
— MyAJC: Mike Budenholzer’s leadership may continue to grow
— MyAJC: Hawks finally reach East’s promised land
— AJC: Short take: Pierce foiled, Teague finishes strong, Hawks move on
— MyAJC: Hawks in East finals would make Atlanta top 10
— MyAJC: Hawks in one win from higher elevation
— MyAJC: Hawks come through when it matters most
— AJC: Short takes: Horford comes through, Teague bows out
— MyAJC: Desperation shouldn’t be Hawks’ prime motivator
— MyAJC: Brady, Patriots got what they deserved
— AJC: Another lesson for Brady, Patriots: Don’t cheat, don’t lie
— MyAJC: Jalen Collins determined to make Falcons’ pick look good
— AJC: Wall’s injury shifts odds in Hawks’ favor for game, series
— MyAJC: Braves’ McDowell trying to repair some damaged egos
— AJC: Brady’s agent suggests ‘sting operation’ by NFL, Colts. Really?
— AJC: Pats, Brady clearly cheated and Bob Kraft is in denial
— MyAJC: Hawks survive but they didn’t make it easy

 

Reader Comments 0

53 comments
Jmonty
Jmonty

I think the media... (non-local) wants a LeBron led team, for star power.   Face it... It's all about ratings.  The Hawks don't have a "single" star that you can pick out, that has the star power as LeBron.  We have a different person each night step up.  Cleveland doesn't have that.  LeBron and Kyrie and that's about it.   I'm sure E$PN and their "experts" had something to do with it.  I hope the Hawks romp them right out of the arenas every night.   After that the Hawks can serve them a nice piece of crow to eat.   BTW.  I am predicting Hawks in 6. 

Columbus68
Columbus68

Aren't the games Tuesday and Wednesday Schultz?

Columbus68
Columbus68

Am I the only one who thought GS/Houston played tonight and the Hawks play tomorrow? Am I in the twilight zone because Schiltz said the games are Wednesday and Thursday, respectively?


Kennyd_va
Kennyd_va

@Atlanta Man's Peachtree, man you nailed it Jeff Schultz never get it right and he will not support our Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta Dreams.   I'm not such why the AJC still have Jeff Schultz on the payroll. 

Let's Go Hawks

Not matter how good of a season our Atlanta Teams have.....they never get the credit

BasketballTopFan
BasketballTopFan

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S  to NBA Conference Finals Teams  ! ! !


Atlanta Hawks  /  Cleveland Cavaliers  /  Houston Rockets  /  Golden State Warriors


Each team has a 25% chance to WIN the National Basketball Association (NBA) Championship.


May the best professional basketball team WIN this Prestigious AWARD.


BasketballTopFan(c) pick the Atlanta Hawks to WIN the NBA Championship...

nomanland5
nomanland5

i love how the polls are in hawks favor. i know this is altanta's newspaper but last year (or last 7 years) it would always be in lebron's favor

DewayneDixon
DewayneDixon

Well duh! Atlanta has a better team now!

Atlanta Man's Peachtree
Atlanta Man's Peachtree

Hey Schultzie, 


You could at least get the frikken day of the game right in your "blog." Honestly, I have been following your column for a while now and I gotta say, you get a lot, and I mean a lot wrong.   Why don't you support your local basketball team? You were quick to be a nay-sayer and let us know the Hawks would fail in the last round. Did they? Nope. LETS GO HAWKS!

Dman
Dman

On one hand you have the Hawks who have won 60 regular season games to be the 1seed, won 3 out of 4 from Cleveland in the regular season when Cleveland was healthy. Hawks have all of their starters healthy and backups playing strong. On the other hand you have the Cavs with one of thier starters out, another injured, and their bench is not as strong as Atlantas BUT, the "experts" are hoping Cleveland will win for ratings. BS oh, and we have home court advantage. Hawks in 5 in this series...

Jmonty
Jmonty

@Dman 100% rating...  LeBron star power vs..  the Hawks that does't have an equal.  But, we have a team.. that aren't ball hogs.  

Carterev
Carterev

I am looking forward to a pick being set by Hawk's opposition in these playoffs where it doesn't look like the pick is working on a new dance step.  The Hawks should find it easier to score at the rim in this series, especially the guards and the perimeter defense of the Cavs is not as fast or long as Washington.  We might see better ball movement in the half court produce higher percentage shots on offense against Cleveland.  Is Mike Scott healthy?  I thought he would have been helpful for a few stretches in the Wizard series.


Expect to see LeBron tucking and running at the rim.  Get the linebackers ready.

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

Odds are 1:1 that the Hawks are TOAST!

Dman
Dman

You wish, troll.

McGarret
McGarret

These birds did not really even beat the Wizards. Had that Pierce shot counted we wouldn't even be having this conversation. They basically hung on a wing and a prayer. Not unlike the Clippers, never lose sight of the fact that these are well..........The Hawks. That being said quite frankly they don't stand a snowball's chance in hell to get past the Cavs.

sbatl
sbatl

@McGarret YEAH AND IF THE WIZARDS MADE ALL THEIR SHOTS AND THEY COUNTED THERE IS NO WAY THE HAWKS WOULD HAVE WON!!! Guess what dude, the shot didn't go down, they had 6 games to win 3 and push it to a game 7, and they didn't. The hawks shot well below their normal averages, so if we are in the "what if" game, if the hawks hit their average there is no way you can tell me that the hawks wouldn't of swept the wizards. 

McGarret
McGarret

I hope you are right and they don't get complacent with their recent accomplishments. Which is a tendency these birds have always had. They have got to stay aggressive. They won't break my heart again so I'll set up for the worst. Which is totally on me. But I'm still rootin for em. GO HAWKS!!!!!

domre
domre

I hope game 1 will be a sellout, the ticket prices skyrocketed... the Hawks REALLY NEED THEIR FANS TO BE LOUD!!! 

Will be following the series from Germany. GO HAWKS!

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

Atlanta's waiting come on, only bad thing we are going to have to hear Cleveland cry for the next week how they were playing without Love. Well the Hawks will be playing without love for Cleveland

GwinnettDad
GwinnettDad

And the AJC doesn't even know what day the Hawks play!

GwinnettDad
GwinnettDad

Hawks in 6. Irving too beat up. Love disabled. 

MikeS777
MikeS777

Personally,  I think the Chicago Bulls are totally overrated.  Clearly with Derrick Rose not playing at an MVP level, they just aren't the same team.  The Hawks had the far tougher matchup with Washington.  Washington was on their way to the 2nd or 3rd seed until the last couple of months when Beal was in and out of the lineup.

I like the Hawks in this series mostly because Lebron James is going to have to be a monster for Cleveland to win.  Lebron actually sat out in one of the games the Hawks played them this year, as did Al Horford in the same game.

So the Hawks are 2-1 vs the Cavs with Lebron.  The one loss, Lebron had over 30pts.  The two wins, Lebron was held to 21 and 18 pts.

This Cavs team is no different than past Lebron Cavs teams.  I think Lebron is going to have to score over 30 pts per game for them to win this series.  If the Hawks defense can hold him in most games to less than 25, the Hawks will win the series.

MikeS777
MikeS777

Its because the media is all about star power, and the Hawks are a real team.  The experts have been calling them overrated all season.

So now here's Lebron James.  Never mind Kyrie Irving is not healthy.  Never mind Kevin Love is out for the season.  Most "experts" pick the Cavs to win.

ESPN is already making excuses for the fact the Hawks won 3 of 4 on Cleveland.  See 3 of those 4 games were before Cleveland got Timofey Mozgov and J. R. Smith.  And we all know what playoff juggernauts those two are right?  Never mind Kevin Love and Irving were 100% healthy for those 4 games.

But then the Hawks beat the Cavs the third time with Smith and Mozgov.  So the excuse there is Cleveland was playing their 6th game in 9 days...kind of like the playoffs I guess right?

Jt Thomas
Jt Thomas

@MikeS777 Yes… totally different team.  If the Cavs win one of the first two games it’s over. The pressure is on Atlanta not to lose those first two game. So that’s why the whole NBA is picking Cleveland.


In addition, the Cavs will dominate the rebounding and that will slow down any fast breaks.

WW5
WW5

5 cavs and three refs on the court against the hawks.  nba wants cavs in the finals.

Earhardnt_Fan
Earhardnt_Fan

U no the Hawks will loss tis sereis in 4 games no less

Okeetee
Okeetee

....I think the Hawks are going to get hosed, big time, by the refs!  

mudstuffin
mudstuffin

The Hawks will win if their shots fall and LBJ does'nt get the star treatment from the refs.

BobbyDawg
BobbyDawg

We beat Clevland this past season more than they beat us. The only reason Clev. is favored is because they have  Lebron James. They'll have to step up their defense to beat the Hawks. Hawks in seven!

Jt Thomas
Jt Thomas

@BobbyDawg Wrong! Totally different team you don’t get it. That front line of Tristan, LeBron and Moz is big. They will dominate the rebounding and block shots.


Those first two home games is critical for Atlanta. If Cavs win one game this will be 4 to 1 series.

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

The Cavs will miss Loves 3 point shooting.  The Hawks are not as offensively limited as the Bulls, i pick Hawks in 5 or 7.  

Jt Thomas
Jt Thomas

@BravesFan79 Wrong… they play better defense without Love. Checkout the box score…Love didn’t score that much.  They have JR Smith could can explode and get you 30.

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

If the Hawks do not allow James to intimidate them, they stand a good chance.


POV1948
POV1948

The series is winnable for the Hawks with great, relentless team D.  The more mental and physical energy Cleveland is forced to expend on the offensive end, the more porous their less-than-stellar D will be. I wouldn't bet the farm either way. I'm hoping Cleveland comes in thinking they already cleared the big hurdle by beating the Bulls, but that could be wishful thinking on my part.

Peachs
Peachs

The Cleveland I saw in the Chicago series is very beatable.  Good talent poorly coached.  


I think some of the previous ownership worked the press and made this ship look worse than it was, or maybe just really didn't have the basketball sense to know better.  Wilkins has never been on board with Ferry and his team over individual ,now that it is working he wants Bud to have the credit.  He was not for Josh leaving wanted Lou Williams to start or at lease get more playing time. All these guys were laying for Ferry for whatever sick reason and since there was no leadership, they took full advantage of the lame duck situation to feed the press which in this town is too quick to let someone else write their stuff. 

Adam007
Adam007

@Peachs You make a lot of sense. I am a big Dominic fan, but I can see the logic now in why Ferry is not in the game. So why is Gearon on the Wilkins side of the fence?

Adam007
Adam007

@Peachs It's also possible that this is a good thing, otherwise the Hawks would be dominated by a bunch of YES men

Jt Thomas
Jt Thomas

@Peachs Wrong… the Cleveland you saw was an injury Kyrie and a LeBron trying do too much. And, still able to beat Chicago by 20 in Chitown.


The team you will see is a healthy Kyrie and conductor name LeBron James orchestrating his players to be in the right position to beat Atlanta.  


Also get ready for a Kyrie Irving moment to explode for forty point.  It’s coming!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Hell Horsey

You said that about them the previous round, didn't you? And the round before that?

Do you enjoy your ignorance?

Dribble
Dribble

Nothing wrong being considered the underdog.  Nobody expected the Hawks to win 60 games, go undefeated in Jan., or get to this point in the playoffs.  I like the odds.