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