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Everything you need to know ahead of Knicks-Hawks Game 3

Everything you need to know ahead of Knicks-Hawks Game 3

The New York Knicks dropped Game 1 of their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks, but came back with a vengeance in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks looked like they were about to fall behind 0-2 before Derrick Rose provided the spark the team needed to pull out a victory. The win has slightly shifted the series odds, with Atlanta still favored to win the series at -143 at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Will the Hawks bounce back at home? Let’s take a look at who has the edge in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference’s best matchup, and find out which side and total BetQL’s NBA best-bet model is picking in this game. 

New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks (-4, 211)

The Knicks received big performances from Reggie Bullock and Rose in Game 2 to even up the series. Rose is averaging 21.5 points per game in the series, but New York needs Julius Randle to step up and play like the All-Star who won the Most Improved Player award. During the regular season, Randle averaged 37.3 points per game against the Hawks, but that number has dropped to just 15 PPG in the playoffs. He needs to figure out how to deal with the length and strength of De’Andre Hunter, who was out for much of the second half of the season. 

On the flip side, Trae Young has been terrific, averaging 31 points, but Atlanta will need more out of John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanovic to win Game 3. Bogdanovic scored 18 points, but missed too many open threes, while Collins scored zero points and only pulled down two rebounds. Collins tends to play well at home, so anticipate a strong bounce-back game from the Atlanta big man.

There’s a reason the Hawks are now favored in the series after stealing a game on the road. Atlanta finished the season with a 25-11 home record. They also average 115.4 points per game at home compared to 111.3 on the road.

Offensively, the Hawks rank eighth in offensive rating and do a great job of getting to the free throw line. The team ranks fourth in free throw attempts and second in free throws made; a majority of those come courtesy of Young.

As for this game, one of the biggest question marks for the Knicks is whether they can find some help for Rose on the offensive end. The team goes through scoring lulls, which they can’t afford if they want to win this series. 

Rose has played heavy minutes, so don’t be surprised if New York plays Frank Ntilikina more in this game to rest the former MVP. Ntilikina has fresh legs and is known for his defense, so he could potentially help in slowing down Young. The Knicks did a better job of trapping Young in Game 2, so look for more of that in Game 3. 

That’s a big reason why Atlanta will need to shoot better from deep to win and cover this spread. If Young is trapped and finds his teammates, which he is great at doing, Atlanta’s other scorers will get good looks. Last game, they shot an abysmal 27.3% from three-point land. They’ll need to shoot closer to their 37.1% season average in Game 3.

The Hawks are one of the better rebounding teams in the league (eighth), but they were severely outrebounded, 54-41, in Game 2. They need to control the boards to get back into this series, which is why Collins absolutely needs to step up.

Gambling wise, bettors are pretty split in this one: 60% are expecting the Hawks to bounce back in this spot.

Either way, expect the Hawks to come out with much more energy from the start, and for Young, Bogdanovic, and Collins to all have big games. 

Pick: Lean Hawks -4

BetQL Model Predictions & Picks

BetQL’s NBA model has run 10,000 simulations of this game to provide insight on how the contest will pan out, and after all those simulations, the model leans the Hawks -4. Currently, the point spread of this game sits at +/- 4 with Atlanta as home favorites, but BetQL’s model would have placed the line at Hawks -4.5, meaning there is some betting value on ATL in this game. Keep reading below to get picks from the experts at BetQL.

Against the Spread Pick:

The model is leaning toward the Hawks -4 with a 1-star rating on the game, and gives them a 68.7% chance of winning the game straight up. It’s hard to argue with the model on this pick. The Knicks lost Game 1 and needed a furious comeback in Game 2 to tie up the series. Atlanta should be able to bounce back in this scenario. 

We are backing the model and betting the Hawks -4, but be sure to check back with BetQL to see the most updated odds, lines, and spreads for this game before tip.

Over/Under Pick:

The over/under for this game is set at 211 points. The BetQL model recommends taking over 211 for this game. Although unders are usually a great bet early in the playoffs, we don’t foresee a defensive battle here. Both teams have gotten a good look at each other, meaning the flow of the game should be more up and down. Trae Young and Co. will likely play better at home, and Julius Randle should have a bounce-back game. For all those reasons, I’m backing BetQL’s 4-star pick and taking the over. 

Prop Bet Spotlight

The BetQL computer model has identified a 4-star prop that we like for tonight’s matchup: Trae Young under 9.5 assists. Young has started heating up in this series and with the game being played in Atlanta, you have to think he will want to put on a show for Hawks fans. Young had 10 assists in Game 1 and seven assists in Game 2, so this should be close, but we feel confident backing the model here. 

The over/under being set so low at 211 total points also may support Young under 9.5 assists. The oddsmakers have set the line at Atlanta over/under 107.5 points for the game, and this is a Hawks team that averaged 113 points per game in the regular season, so a few less possessions could be make or break for this bet. We are backing the model on this one.

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