Hawks apparently have some convincing to do (UPDATED)

Mike Woodson laughs at your odds, Mr. Bodog. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Mike Woodson laughs at your odds, Mr. Bodog. (Jason Getz/AJC)

(Updated with more odds below)

After speaking to a few players in the Hawks’ locker room Thursday, it became apparent to me that their confidence is at an all-time high, not just to defeat Milwaukee in the first round of the playoffs but to make it to at least the Eastern Conference finals.

But oddsmakers aren’t in agreement.

According to the online sportsbook, Bodog.com, the Hawks are overwhelming favorites to defeat Milwaukee in their opening round series, which begins Saturday at Philips Arena. But they’re only fourth among teams to win the Eastern Conference finals – behind even the Boston Celtics, whom Atlanta finished ahead of in the standings and swept this season.

Here are the numbers. Do you agree, or do you think the Hawks are being short-changed?

Eastern Conference title odds

♦ Cleveland: 1-2
♦ Orlando: 10-3
♦ Boston  13-2
Hawks: 10-1
♦ Miami: 40-1
♦ Milwaukee: 65-1
♦ Charlotte: 65-1
♦ Chicago: 100-1

Hawks-Bucks series:

The Hawks average out to 13-2 favorites to defeat the Bucks in the first round. The odds on how long it will go:
♦ Hawks win 4-1: 11-4
♦ Hawks win 4-0: 4-1
♦ Hawks win 4-2: 4-1
♦ Hawks win 4-3: 4-1
♦ Bucks win 4-2: 10-1
♦ Bucks win 4-3: 12-1
♦ Bucks win 4-1: 30-1
♦ Bucks win 4-0: 50-1

Odds to win the NBA title

♦ Cleveland: 7-4
♦ L.A. Lakers: 5-2
♦ Orlando: 6-1
♦ Boston: 12-1
♦ Dallas: 12-1
♦ Denver: 12-1
♦ Phoenix: 22-1
♦  San Antonio: 22-1
♦ Utah: 22-1
Hawks: 28-1
♦ Oklahoma City: 45-1
♦ Portland: 55-1
♦ Miami: 90-1
♦ Charlotte: 125-1
♦ Milwaukee: 150-1
♦ Chicago: 175-1

Off-beat prop bet

Who will make it further in the NBA playoffs: LeBron James (-150) or Kobe Bryant (+120): James averages out to a 1.35-to-1 favorite.

(Just added)

Odds to win NBA finals MVP

LeBron James: 2-1
Kobe Bryant: 3-1
Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams: 7-2
Pau Gasol: 9-2
Dwight Howard: 7-1
Vince Carter: 12-1
Dirk Nowitzki: 14-1
Carmelo Anthony: 15-1
Paul Pierce: 20-1
Rajon Rondo: 21-1
Chauncey Billups, Ray Allen: 22-1
Jason Kidd: 24-1
Kevin Garnett: 25-1
Amar’e Stoudemire, Deron Williams: 32-1
Carlos Boozer, Steve Nash: 35-1
Tim Duncan: 36-1
Joe Johnson, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker:  38/1
Josh Smith, Kevin Durant: 48-1
Jamal Crawford: 55-1
Brandon Roy: 80-1
LaMarcus Aldridge, Russell Westbrook: 90/1
Dwyane Wade: 100-1
Gerald Wallace, Jermaine O’Neal: 175-1
John Salmons, Stephen Jackson: 200-1
Derrick Rose: 225-1
Brandon Jennings: 250-1
Luol Deng: 300-1

Joe Johnson says playoffs need to be his time to shine

Vote in our poll: As Hawks open playoffs, what’s acceptable to you?

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and on Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

61 comments Add your comment


April 16th, 2010
10:10 am

Truth is the Hawks are a very good team. But not a great one. A few years back Detroit dropped their head coach Rick Carlisle after back to back 50 win seasons because he had taken them as far as he could.

They signed Larry Brown and won the title the next year. Might be time for a HC upgrade if you ask me.


April 16th, 2010
10:11 am

wow! im first. dont gamble much. so no real insight on the article. sorry


April 16th, 2010
10:23 am

Then why comment on an article you have opinion about?

Will S

April 16th, 2010
10:26 am

Funny how the NBA has a big anti-gambling push, yet these type of articles are still going around mainstream media outlets.

Jeff Schultz

April 16th, 2010
10:31 am

Will S — Leagues can fight gambling all they want, but it still exists. There’s a reason Vegas can afford those big casinos. I like writing about it because odds tell a lot about perceptions, whether accurate or not. Prop bets can be fun to look at, too.


April 16th, 2010
10:35 am

Truth is … the Hawks are a GREAT team at home …

And an average team on the road.

They are however peaking at the right time … anything can happen.


April 16th, 2010
10:39 am


All I know is that if the Hawks come and play to their full potential, somebody is gonna lose their home in Vegas.

SWAT Native

April 16th, 2010
10:40 am

I can understand the oddsmakers thinking the Cavs, Magic and Celtics are more likely to win the Eastern Conference because they have all actually done it before. I hope that the Hawks are not looking past the Bucks, but more and more I am getting the feeling that they may surprise some people in the second round. As to the Rick Carlisle comparison, he got two 50-win seasons before he was replaced. Let’s see how Woody does after next year’s playoffs.

NC Braves Fan

April 16th, 2010
10:43 am

Odds sound about right. I guess we could quibble over Boston’s odds versus the Hawks, but Boston knows what it takes to make a deep playoff run. Whether fair or not, that’s probably the difference in the oddsmakers eyes at this point.


April 16th, 2010
10:50 am

Good! Hope they are reading the odds and use it for mojo!


April 16th, 2010
10:51 am


I agree.

Ethan Benoff

April 16th, 2010
10:57 am

Blah Blah Blah…when the Hawks are actually focused and trust me the playoffys will make them focused they are able to beat any team anywhere. The only thing that scares me is that our offense tends to lockup coming the fourth quarter stretch. can we overcome this and hit the open shots (please Josh, leaves those shots for somebody else!)


April 16th, 2010
11:07 am

Woodson should have played Teague more during the season. They are goring to need him during this run as a change of pace guy, at least 12-15 mins a gm. I really think that the Hawks also need to play their bigs more. Coaching is definitely our biggest problem

John K

April 16th, 2010
11:10 am

The league & apparently TV doesn’t REALLY care who wins the Hawks/Bucks series..hence the rediculous time slot for the opening game..5:30pm Saturday!! Otherwise called NBA pergutory(sp?)


April 16th, 2010
11:27 am

No Road Wins No Ring!


April 16th, 2010
11:30 am

They should beat the Bucks only because their big man is out. Go out 2nd round/same one on one play will not work in the playoffs as the refs will let teams play D. Tight game and they will foul J. Smith and he will clank the free throws. No Matter what he does in the first 46 minutes just like the ncaa’s this year it comes down to free throws. Defenses don’t have to worry about Horford going left(he can’t). Bibby will get eaten up by any point guard he goes against. Teague won’t get to play( I don’t have much faith in the coaching or clutch players.


April 16th, 2010
11:47 am

These Hawks are the late 80’s all over again: damn good, but behind two other teams in their conference that they’ll never surmount. The only way to possible way to get over the hump is to try a coach who might have an IQ in the triple digits.

Check The Math

April 16th, 2010
11:48 am

In the odds to win the NBA title, 7-4 odds are better than 5-2. Just saying.


April 16th, 2010
11:50 am

Hawks will be out in the 1st round. The same choke fest that they have provided in the 30 years that I’ve been here.

Not just a fair weather fan

April 16th, 2010
12:05 pm

Just shows the lack of respect toward the Hawks. Tides are changing, howeverm, it will take a while for people to see them as a elite team in the NBA. A stomping of the Bucks and trip to the Eastern conf finals could change that. Go Hawks!

Stoned Mountain

April 16th, 2010
12:07 pm

I know how the oddsmakers pegged the Hawks. Good or bad, an unchanging aspect of the Hawks is they are terrible at adjusting against opponents, especially adjusting on the fly. Our Hawks collapse at the feet of little Nate Robinson was classic — in three quarters of play we could not figure a way to slow, let alone stop, this undersized journeyman. Adjusting is the name of the playoff game.

The Celtics, who we beat regularly during the season, will have a plan for us and we will be hardpressed to beat them if we run up on them. Just wait.

Hawks losing, is the way to bet.

GT Alum

April 16th, 2010
12:08 pm

I’ll agree with the Eastern Conference winner standings. Cleveland is the obvious favorite, Orlando was there last year, and Boston was there a couple years ago. I have no problem with Vegas saying show us you can do it. Also, they are definitely looking at the Hawks as part of a clear top 4 in the conference instead of viewing the team as part of the pack. The difference between the 13-2 for the Celtics and the 10-1 for the Hawks is microscopic compared to the jump between the odds for the Hawks and the 40-1 odds for the Heat.

There’s several things I’d change about the NBA title odds. I’d have Denver over Dallas, not even. With all due respect to Dallas’ talent, they’ve never been able to climb the mountain, while Denver gave the Lakers a good punch in the nose last year. I’m also not sure I’d give Phoenix, San Antonio or Utah much of an advantage over the Hawks. We’ve seen Phoenix teams like this year’s come up short before, and San Antonio’s is becoming a bit old and injury-prone. While they play differently, I evaluate Utah about the same as the Hawks – talented young team that hasn’t shown it can take the next step. Maybe Jerry Sloan wins the advantage for them over Woodson.


April 16th, 2010
12:14 pm

Plus Size, the two teams (or three if you count what Vegas thinks) are flawed, they can be had on the right nights. The revamped Hawks are no more a mess than last year’s Eastern Conference champs in Orlando were. Those teams that were better than the Hawks in the 80’s were not flawed entities like the Nique Hawks were… Those teams were like the pre-Moses Malone Sixers, very good but not championship mettle!


April 16th, 2010
12:15 pm

Jeff Schultz

April 16th, 2010
12:31 pm

Fresh — Agreed.

Jeff Schultz

April 16th, 2010
12:32 pm

SWAT — I can understand the Cavs and Magic. I can’t understand the Celtics.

Jeff Schultz

April 16th, 2010
12:32 pm

NC Braves Fan — That is true. Celtics deserve some credit because they have been there before (and won it).

Dr. Warren

April 16th, 2010
12:33 pm

Actually, Dallas made the 2006 Finals and lost to the Heat in 6, so they have in fact climbed farther up “the mountain” in this era than Denver. Denver has never made the NBA Finals.

Jeff Schultz

April 16th, 2010
12:35 pm

Check The Math –Professor, you are correct. Consider them swapped.

Jeff Schultz

April 16th, 2010
12:35 pm

David — If that happens, they’ve got issues.


April 16th, 2010
12:53 pm

Screw the odds. Go Hawks!


April 16th, 2010
1:00 pm

Jeff I usually find your articles at least somewhat informative/entertaining. But a paragraph with no real info and some record’s stats. I could have written this article in 5 minutes. It doesn’t take a sportsbook to know they are the are 4th in line.

Dee the Big Baller

April 16th, 2010
1:03 pm

anything is possible in the playoffs, HAWKS need to keep their FOCUS…I can count at lease 7 or 8 games on the ROAD that the HAWKS should have won! add that to the WIN total and they are easily the second seed or maybe even the top seed…they were up by 17 in CLEVELAND late in the 3rd quarter….remember…they need to smell blood and get that KILLER instinct and finish the game…Joe Johnson…and Jamal Crawford….Great Players don’t allow that to happen

Gwinnett Fred

April 16th, 2010
1:05 pm

The reason th Celtics are a much less underdog than the Hawks has nothing to do with what “Vegas” thinks. Odds are laid out to get proportionate betting amounts laid down.

The Celtics are simply much more “known” (largely for winning it all recently), and thus, their odds are better. No different from a point spread in a single game. It has nothing to do with what the “experts” think will happen in the game, it has everything to do with what the “experts” think will bring in equal action on both sides of the line.

Personally, the disparity I don’t understand at all is the difference between Boston and Miami. That is a toss up series, yet look at the difference to win the east between those teams (Bos 6.5-1 & Mia 40-1). That’s the one that really shows the betting public loves the Celtics, they are simply too well known (parallel to Notre Dame – until they started sucking in recent years, they would always have to lay 3-4 more points than they should, not because they were better, but ND was a team the betting public laid money down on regardless of the spread.

lakers are in town

April 16th, 2010
1:40 pm

the hawks will lose in the first round Ole Milwakee will take advantage of the hawks over confident team


April 16th, 2010
1:42 pm

I’m a BIG fan of Josh Smith….Go Hawks!


April 16th, 2010
1:55 pm

The Hawks WILL go to the ECF if Woody focuses late in games on really coaching them up.

Let me explain. The Hawks to me were a 60+ win team this year, but we were out-coached in several games late, especially on the road. The knock-out punch CANNOT come from Joe Johnson or Jamal Crawford with 4-6 minutes left in the game. How many times did they BLOW double-digit leads late in the game? Several!

The answer is not just putting the ball in those guys hands and telling everybody else to clear out and let them take on their man and the rest of the opposing team one on one. They need to continue to do what got them in the double digit lead position in the first place which is PASS THE BALL (PASS THE BALL JOE!, AND JOSH I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU TRY TO DRIBBLE THE BALL DOWN THE COURT, PASS THE BALL ONE OF YOUR GUARDS BEFORE YOU GET IT STOLEN FROM YOU FOR THE 100th TIME!) AND RUN THE OFFENSE. The offensive scheme seems to work just fine and it will create opportunities not only for Joe or Jamal, but we have some other good shooter’s on the team that can win the game for you at any time.


Whew, I feel better….. GO HAWKS!
Been a fan since birth………


April 16th, 2010
2:05 pm

Anyone who has watched the Hawks in the 4+ decades that they’ve been in Atlanta understands why the oddsmakers are not high on them.

The Hawks are chronic losers, and people who bet against them come out a lot better than those who bet on this.

I should add that grossly overpaid players seem to come to Atlanta regularly, only to “die” on the court. That’s partly due to 3rd rate coaching.

But who cares about it all anyway. The NBA has turned into just a playground for wealthy thugs.


April 16th, 2010
2:07 pm

I forgot to mention: The Hawks lose in six games.

You can thank me later for this tip.


April 16th, 2010
2:43 pm

Hey Y’all:

Our HAWKS are “IN IT TO WIN IT!!!!”. This is what they played the whole season for: “TO GET IN IT TO WIN IT!!”. These guys are for rela on our Hawks. I know some are loking at our center position not being big to the likes of Shaqille and others, but the teamwork that of Horfors, Pachullia, Joe Smith and others have proved worthy to get us the number 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. This is a positive reflextion of the toughness and tenacity of this crew. THEY DO NOT BACK DOWN!!! THEY PLAY TO WIN IT IN SHOOTING, BLOCKING AND REBOUNDING. As I said before, this team reminds me so much of the Red Holtzman New York Knock team: They were not big, especially at cente, but they were able to shoot on the perimeter, play stellar defense an was crafty enough to take down the Wilt Chamberliain and Jerry west Lakers. They moved that ball around like “Poetry In Motion”, hit the open man and made shots throuhout the palyoffs. The were “GIANT KILLERS!!”. In fact that is my motto for these Hawks during the playoffs: “GIANT KILLERS!!” When they play their stayle of ball in moving the ball around, hitting the open man, making ther shots, and of course, playing their stellar defense, “NOBODY CAN STOP THEM!! AND I MEAN NOBODY. We have our Walt Frasier, our Earl Monroe, our Dave DeBusheur, our Bill Bradley, our John Lucas, our Henry Bibby, our Phil Jackson, and of course, our Willis Reed. OUR HAWKS WILL BE “THE GIANT KILLERS” IN THIS PLAYOFF SEASON. I SEE THEM TAKING THE EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP. MARK MY WORDS. THESE ARE THE GIANT KILLERS WHEN THEY PLAY THEIR GAME, WHICH IS FUN AND EXCITING TO WATCH. I cannot wait to get to Phillips Arena and go crazt with this playoff season. THIS IS IT!!!!! “LET’S SHOCK THE WORLD!!!! “THESE HAWKS ARE GIANT KILLERS!!” WE ARE IN IT TO WIN IT!!!!


This is a SECRET from a HAWK FAN. TELL EVERYBODY!!!!!!!

………………….”GIANT KILLERS”…………..


April 16th, 2010
2:53 pm

JS, I am just glad we are in the debate, feels good to be relevant

The Truth

April 16th, 2010
4:42 pm

Tell you what Jeff; this is exactly what the Hawks need, doubters and negativity. They are at their best when they play the role of underdogs and spoilers. You do remember the Boston playoff series a few years ago. It was staged as David vs. goliath. They push the series to 7 games overachieved just to prove the doubter wrong. Well, the Hawks these days are a lot better then they were a few years ago. However, when the odds are in their favor against a less superior team, they usually play down to the competition. So for that reason as a cautionary, they need to beware of the Bucks. But this scenario of David vs. goliath can only happen in the second round against the highly favored Orlando Magic. That stage would be set between a beat-up Orlando team (after playing a tough Bobcat Team) against a likely fresh Hawks team (after an easy dance with the Bucks). Assuming it happens this way and you keep writing these “NO WAY THEY WIN” stories, I actually like the Hawks chances of reaching the eastern finals.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 16th, 2010
5:04 pm

Oddsmakers don’t predict outcomes of games. They predict betting patterns. It’s a common misconception. All that means is that sports books think bettors are more likely to like the Celtics’ chances in the playoffs than the Hawks’ chances. Considering that they have a ring and more star power, that’s not too hard to believe.

If a whole bunch of us go on Bodog right now and bet on the Hawks to win the NBA title, the odds will change to favor the Hawks over the Celtics. That doesn’t mean Bodog changed its prediction; it just means they are responding to betting patterns.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 16th, 2010
5:07 pm

I see GwinnettFred beat me to the punch… guess that’s what I get for not reading the comments before posting.


April 16th, 2010
6:23 pm

I have doubts whether they can beat the Milwaukee Bucks. Yes, they swept Boston during the season. However, this is the play-offs and the Hawks has yet to prove that they can play at a higher level in the play-offs.


April 16th, 2010
9:58 pm

So when are the hawks going to get love from the national media? I just watched an “NBA Playoffs Preview” and like usual, the only teams discussed in the program were the Cavs, Magic, Lakers, and OK City. I don’t know what it is about Atlanta sports, but we get no attention except maybe Heyward, not the Braves, but just Heyward. Does Joe have to score 30 a night to grace the dinner table?

Big Ray

April 16th, 2010
11:23 pm

Najeh has it right.

In the meantime, nobody gave last year’s Orlando Magic a shot.

Just sayin’….


April 16th, 2010
11:51 pm

Jeff, I think the Hawks are being placed one spot too low. I think they are definitely behind Cleveland and Orlando, but are ahead of Boston. I dont know if the sports betters are placing Boston third because they won the title in 2008, or what.

My gut feeling about the Hawks: I think they will beat Milwaukee, fairly easily, but, if the Hawks face Orlando in the Eastern Semis, I think Orlando will win. The Magic won 59 games this year. They are a good team, and also, the Hawks would not have home court advantage in a second round series with the Magic. That, to me, is big, considering that the Hawks were not a good road team this year.

I hope I’m wrong, but this is just what my gut tells me.


April 17th, 2010
12:56 am


^^new interview wit joe, he sound focused , truthfully he dnt sound like he wanna go ANYWHERE


April 17th, 2010
1:56 am




Bucks win in 6 games? I understand the Hawks usually play down to their competition, but this is the playoffs and I think they will make it quick an painless.

I seriously hope these Hawks put in an effort and show people what they are made of. I am tired of these BS statements. ECF would help that. Just like it did for the Magic.