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Hawks/Magic Preview

   by Matt Fargo - 05/05/2010

The Numbers



Orlando opened as nine-point favorites with the total set at 189.5. We tend to see a Game Two line go down from the Game One line as the linesmakers bring the number down to offset players taking advantage of a better line for the losing team. That is not the case here and any zig zag bettors have an advantageous number.



Zig or Zag



The Zig Zag Theory was once a very popular betting strategy in the NBA Playoffs but because of its popularity, the markets caught up and since 2000, it has been a losing situational strategy.



This theory basically used to say to bet the loser of the previous game in the next game but linesmakers have caught up to this rationale in recent years as you will see that the line in the second game is usually lower even if the home team won that previous game in the series.



Orlando is favored by the same number as it was in Game One, which is uncommon but it is largely in part due to the Magic winning the first game by 43 points. The theory was based on betting the desperate team coming off a loss and it is safe to say that the Hawks will be pretty desperate come Thursday. We will see just how desperate sometime around 10:30 PM ET.



No Rust For Magic



Orlando came into the playoffs riding a six-game winning streak and after sweeping Charlotte, headed into the Atlanta series on a 10-game winning streak. The problem was that the Magic had to rest for eight days before the Conference Semifinals but apparently that did not matter.



It took Orlando over a quarter to pull away but when it did, it did so in a big way. The Magic shot 52.4 percent while holding Atlanta to 34.6 percent including 15.4 percent from long range. The Magic have now won 25 of their last 28 games and could be considered the favorite to win it all right now after this recent run.



The Hawks won the final meeting of the regular season but looking back, it may not have been a total Orlando effort put into that game. Going back to last season, the Magic have won seven of the last eight meetings with five of those coming by at least 17 points.



Blowout Bounceback?



Egos are a big part of the NBA and for Atlanta to get absolutely embarrassed on Tuesday, the players are going to be out for some revenge. The last time we saw a beatdown like this, it was New Orleans getting hammered last season in the Conference Quarters by 58 points. Two nights later, the Hornets lost the next game by 21 points so there was no bounceback there.



We have to try and decipher what the mindset of the Hawks is following that loss. “Honestly, it would be harder if we lost by one point on a buzzer beater,” Jamal Crawford said. “A game like this, you shake it off and move on.” I think that is easier said than done and the Hawks history isn’t going to put a lot of confidence in Atlanta backers for Game Two.



The Hawks have played 13 road games the past three postseasons and have lost 11 of them, 10 of which have been by at least 19 points.



Orlando Confidence



While the Hawks have to try and rebound to avenge that Game One loss, Orlando has to be careful and not get over-confident on Game Two and let the Hawks regain some of their own confidence. All they had to do is go back to last season and see what the Hawks did.



After losing their first game in Miami in the Conference Quarters by 31 points, the Hawks came back in Game Four and won in Miami by 10 points two nights later. Head coach Stan Van Gundy shared that with his team and it was a perfect example showing how things can change from one game to another.



Speaking to the media Wednesday afternoon, Van Gundy said, “Every game in the playoffs is a new day, and you can’t get caught up in what’s happened before.” Even with the blowout win, Orlando cannot afford to hold back anything for Game Two.



Trends



The Hawks are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a double-digit loss.



The Over is 8-0 in the Hawks last eight games following a double-digit loss.



Orlando is 20-5-1 ATS in its last 26 games as a favorite.



The Under is 15-5-1 in Orlando’s last 21 games when it is favored between 5.0 and 10.5 points.



The Under has come though in six straight meetings.

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