Two Eastern Conference teams in solid grooves square off on Friday as the Boston Celtics travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks.
The Celtics have won two straight games by absolute blow-out margins, topping the Kings 128-75 and the Wizards 116-87. Meanwhile, the Hawks have won five straight and are at full strength entering this showdown.
Read our best free NBA betting picks and predictions for Celtics vs. Hawks for Friday, January 28 to see who stays hot.
Celtics vs Hawks odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
This line opened with the Hawks as 2.5-point home favorites, and it's since dropped to -2.0 with some books rolling with -1.5. The total opened at 218.5 and has dropped as low as 217.5, though most books are at an even 218.
Celtics vs Hawks predictions
Predictions made on 1/27/2022 at 8:25 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Celtics vs Hawks game info
• Location: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
• Date: Friday, January 28, 2022
• Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. ET
• TV: BSSE, NBCS-BOS
Celtics vs Hawks betting preview
Celtics: PJ Dozier SG (Questionable), Bol Bol C (Questionable).
Hawks: No injuries to report.
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Hawks are 5-0 against the spread in their last five games overall. Find more NBA betting trends for Celtics vs. Hawks.
Celtics vs Hawks picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
The Hawks haven't exclusively beat up on bottom-feeders in their recent five-game winning streak, scoring victories against the likes of the Bucks and Heat to climb above .500 at home. The Hawks' mostly absent defense has been their Achilles' heel, but they've somehow managed to overcome it with a thrilling offensive attack led by point guard Trae Young.
They're at full strength and welcomed deep threat Bogan Bogdanovic back to the fold after the sharpshooter missed five games. He slotted in and scored 18 points in just under 23.5 minutes while hitting 3 of 8 from 3-point range. No Hawks player topped 20 points against the Kings on Wednesday night, but four - including both Young and Bogdanovic - scored at least 15. Bogdanovic's presence in the lineup allows head coach Nate McMillan to take it easy on small forward DeAndre Hunter, who has missed plenty of time this season due to a back injury.
In general, having Bogdanovic - and vets like Lou Williams and Danilo Gallinari - healthy, the Hawks don't have to overwork their stars. Atlanta stormed to a 67-50 first-half lead against the Kings, which explains why Delon Wright led the team in minutes, but Sacramento never sniffed a comeback in the second half.
The Celtics, in theory, should provide stiffer competition thanks to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and a much stouter defensive core than many of Atlanta's recent opponents. And while the Celtics have laid waste to the Wiz and Kings, neither of those offenses carry the firepower or the overall balance of the Hawks.
Boston hasn't traveled well, going 9-14 away from TD Garden this season. And while that alone isn't enough to warrant confidence in the home team, combining it with a healthy Atlanta opponent that should be rested after no one really broke a sweat against Sacramento, and the Hawks are the right choice with a modest spread.
Prediction: Hawks -2 (-105)
Only the Bucks and Hornets average more points per game in the Eastern Conference than the Hawks. And only those same Hornets and the Pistons allow more points per game in the East than Atlanta. The Celtics and Hawks don't play at particularly torrid paces, ranking 21st and 22nd, respectively, but Atlanta boasts strong scoring efficiency. This is especially true from beyond the arc. Despite taking just 33.6 three-point attempts per game (22nd), they drain 12.6 (10th) for a 37.5% success rate (3rd).
Being fully healthy, the Hawks could let it fly from downtown. After hitting a bit of a cold stretch from 3-point range, Hawks guard Trae Young has found his stroke, making 10 or more 3-point attempts in four of his last six and shooting 43.5% from deep in that time.
The Celtics, not exactly known for their high-octane attack, have scored at least 100 points in 10 of 13 games since the start of January and hasn't tallied fewer than 97 in that time. The Kings boast a similarly porous defense as the Hawks and the Celtics dropped 128 on them on Tuesday thanks to the two-headed monster of Tatum and Brown combining for 66 points.
Boston's struggles on the road have been documented and while the offense should be able to slice through Atlanta's sorry excuse of a defense, the Celtics themselves won't be able to contain the Hawks.
Prediction: Over 218 (-105)
Both teams are playing some of their best basketball on the season and despite the Celtics' road woes, it's certainly not a foregone conclusion that they lose this one. On paper, Boston should probably be the better team when both are fully healthy, which they mostly are heading into Friday's game. But they haven't managed that consistency and would be limited to the play-in if the season ended today.
Meanwhile, the Hawks are on the outside looking in despite a spectacular offense. But that defense is so ineffective that it's difficult to put too much confidence in Young & Co. on a nightly basis.
Pick: Over 218 (-105)
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