The NBA Playoffs are underway and on Sunday night the New York Knicks will make their first postseason appearance since the 2012-13 season. An offseason that saw New York make solid, but far from splashy signings has paid dividends as the Knicks will have homecourt advantage in this first round series against the Atlanta Hawks.
Let’s jump into our three top Hawks vs. Knicks Game 1 prop picks for this NBA postseason matchup.
Hawks vs. Knicks Prop Picks (May 23, 2021)
The New York Knicks will host their first playoff game at Madison Square Garden in eight years. Led by forward Julius Randle, who garnered some attention in the MVP conversation, the Knicks locked in homecourt advantage for this first round series, far exceeding the expectations of most national pundits.
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The Atlanta Hawks have had a successful season of their own, finishing with an identical 41-31 record. Led by third year guard Trae Young, the Hawks have the ability to light up the opposition quickly with a barrage of shots from beyond the arc.
Tonight’s matchup should be an intriguing one, setting the stage for a potential seven-game series.
Trae Young to Record 9+ Assists (-196, FOX Bet)
With the offseason addition of Bogdan Bogdanović, questions loomed as to whether or not third-year guard Trae Young would make the necessary adjustments to his game to maximize his new backcourt mate’s skillset. Looking back on the abbreviated season, he absolutely did. Young averaged 3.2 fewer three-point field goal attempts, while seeing his assist numbers tick up a tick.
Young’s 9.4 assists per game stood out far above Kevin Huerter’s 3.5 (second-most for the Hawks) and he’s shown a propensity for finding his teammates in advantageous positions against the Knicks this season. In the first meeting between the teams on January 4, Young dished out 14 assists. In the second matchup, he only recorded eight assists at Madison Square Garden, but he rebounded in a big way on April 21, dishing out 14 assists against the Knicks on New York’s home court.
It’s hard to know exactly how Young will do in his playoff debut, but we expect him to be a facilitator as his team attempts to find their road legs.
Bogdan Bogdanović to Make Over 3.5 Three-Pointers (-140, PointsBet)
When it comes to three-point shooting markets, there might not be any player in this postseason worth looking at more strongly than Bogdan Bogdanović. The fourth-year guard has been everything the Hawks had hoped for and more since signing him to a 4-year, $72m deal this past offseason. His 43.8 3P% is the highest of his career, as are his points (16.4) and rebounds (3.6) per game.
When it comes to Bogdanović’s ability to hit from beyond the arc, keep in mind that when these teams last met on April 21, he went 8-19 from the field including 4-10 from deep on his way to a 20-point performance. To make this market more attractive, it’s also worth noting that Bogdanović hit at least four three-pointers in each of his last six regular season games.
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Julius Randle to Record Over 36.5 Combined Points and Rebounds (-105, BetMGM)
When Julius Randle signed a 3-year, $62m deal back in the summer of 2019, the hope was that he would be able to build upon his lone season with the New Orleans Pelicans, when he averaged 21.4 points per game, while developing into the player the Los Angeles Lakers thought they were getting when they selected him with the 7th overall pick in the 2014 draft.
Fast forward two seasons and that’s exactly what the Knicks have gotten from Randle. His 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game were good for the top spot on the Knicks’ squad this season. Randles’s 24.1 points per game set a career high, while his 10.2 rebounds per game matched a career high.
While his points and rebounds per game dipped a bit from April to May, we’d advise taking a look at Randle’s three games against the Hawks earlier this season as a way to best determine the viability of this market. In those three contests, Randle averaged 37.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 6.7 assists. Simply put, we expect Randle to have his way in Game 1.
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