NBA Playoffs Best Bets for Sunday: Hawks vs. Celtics Game 4 odds, picks, predictions, & props

By | April 23, 2023

Boston fans were ecstatic when the Hawks beat the Heat to assume the seventh seed and lock into the NBA Playoffs as the Celtics’ first-round opponent. The C’s swept Atlanta during their regular-season series, and finished with 16 more wins than the ATL on the season. And after two commanding victories at the TD Garden to open the round, it appeared as if the Green would cruise to its second-consecutive opening-round sweep. But Trae Young and the Hawks had other plans, and Quin Snyder’s squad mounted an impressive 130-122 upset win at State Farm Arena. Can Atlanta forge two big wins in a row over one of the league’s powerhouses? We’ll dive into the odds as well as our best bets below. 

It’s not everyday that a team hits 9-of-16 three-point attempts in the first quarter — and 15-of-25 in the first half — and ends up losing the game by eight points. But the Celtics found a way on Friday night, and the main culprit to the shocking L was on the defensive end of the floor. Boston allowed Atlanta to shoot over 65 percent on the night (and 50% from beyond the arc), and the Hawks committed just seven total turnovers. 

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Boston also got owned on the glass, with the Hawks out-rebounding the defending Eastern Conference champions 22-13. These were not my grandfather’s Celtics — this was as millennial a performance as we have seen from Jayson Tatum and his squad since their run at the chip following the 2022 All-Star Game. Matador defense. No box-outs. Zero rim protection. Drop coverage on high screen-and-rolls. Backpedaling on Young and fellow star guard Dejounte Murray as they drive the lane. All these factors combined to put the Green in the red at the end of a game for the first time since April 4 in Philly.

Give the Hawks credit — they are feisty, and their shooters have plenty of confidence. It wasn’t just the Ice Trae and Dejounte Show (although they did combine for 57 points on 23-of-43 shooting). Bogdan Bogdanovic, Saddiq Bey, De’Andre Hunter, and John Collins also inflicted plenty of damage, combining for 50 points. Hell, even Jalen Johnson put up 10 points and multiple three-pointers against Boston — and he didn’t even average 15 minutes per game this season!

Was Game 3 an outlier, or a turning point? We will discuss the odds for this Eastern Conference Game 4 clash, and reveal our prediction, best bets, and favorite player props going into the evening.

MORE ODDS: Spreads, moneylines, props, parlays — get it all with BetMGM!

Hawks vs. Celtics odds, picks, predictions

Odds courtesy of BetMGM

  • Spread: Celtics -6.5 (-115) | Hawks +6.5 (-105)
  • Total: OVER 230.5 (-115) | UNDER 230.5 (-105)
  • Moneyline: Celtics -275 | Hawks +220

Oddsmakers clearly believe Game 3 was a bit of a fluke, as BetMGM lists Boston as a moderately-heavy -6.5 road favorite. After what we saw on Friday, this feels like a volatile spread either way. Anyone even remotely familiar with the 2022-23 NBA season knows the Celtics can wipe the floor with the Hawks home or away if they play a full 48 minutes of focused, high-effort hoops. But if Boston goes out there listless and once again fails to execute as a team defense, this could be a close game at best, a 2-2 tie going back to the Bean at worst. 

Full disclosure: we think the Green should be okay. Atlanta has been much, much better in just about every facet of the game since firing Nate McMillan and bringing in Snyder. But we also know that the Hawks barely squeaked out of Game 3 with a victory despite incredible shooting splits of 56/44/81. Tatum had a chance to tie the game up with just under a minute remaining! A team that shoots that well wire to wire and still almost blows the game doesn’t inspire much hope for a second upsets in a row over a title contender. 

Joe Mazzulla’s squad went 16-9 after a loss this season, so we’re mixing in the Celtics’ -275 moneyline as part of a few different Sunday parlays. We’d love to cut down the juice and buy into their -6.5 spread, but we also know that Boston went just 13-12 ATS after losses since the start of the 2022-23 campaign. Boston has also gone just 14-19-1 ATS as a road favorite this season. The only way we will touch the Celtics against the spread is if we buy three points and make it -3.5 at -185. 

Reigning conference champions tend to bounce back from disappointing road losses (here’s looking at you, Golden State). But just like Warriors, these Celtics keep showing us again and again that they aren’t as dominant as they were during their run at the title last year. So, while we’re absolutely taking the Green to win, we’re certainly not betting the farm on them blowing the doors off State Farm Arena.

Prediction: Celtics 118, Hawks 113. The Celtics win (-275), but the Hawks cover (+6.5) and the game just barely goes OVER (230.5). Careful with that over/under, though — the Celtics could lay another egg defensively, but they could just as well bounce back defensively and give Robert Williams III more playing time to protect the rim. 

Best player prop bet for Hawks vs. Celtics: Al Horford OVER 8.5 points OR OVER 1.5 three-pointers 

Al Horford Boston Celtics

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So many times in the past year and some change, Horford has been the quiet leader to pick the otherwise-youthful core of the Celtics up. He steps up his game when Boston has its back against the wall, and he’s always good for a couple big-time three-pointers at home or away (seriously, he has hit two-plus treys in each of his last six games and 11 of his past 12). Sure, he hasn’t eclipsed eight points in the past three games, but he’s averaging nearly 10 ppg over his past six and he has plenty of experience playing in Atlanta. The best stat yet: since Valentine’s Day, Horford has averaged 15.3 points per game following a Celtics loss. Smash either of these OVERs and do an Al-flex.