There’s a basketball appetizer on Super Bowl Sunday in Boston.
Yes, New Hampshire, we are spoiled by the New England Patriots usually being in the Super Bowl, but this year we have the Boston Celtics hosting the Atlanta Hawks at 2 p.m. Sunday on ABC to whet your super appetite.
Before Friday’s game against the Nuggets, the Celtics were 31-25 and riding a six-game win streak. They sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, tied for second in the Atlantic Division.
Celtics star Jayson Tatum ranks 11th in the NBA scoring 25.5 points a game and his running mate Jaylen Brown adds 23.9.
The Hawks are led by Trae Young who is a walking bucket as they say. He is third in the NBA with 27.8 points a game and 9.3 assists. Before hosting the Spurs Friday, the Hawks were 26-28, but 10-16 on the road.
This will be the third and final meeting of these two teams in the regular season.
What do the oddsmakers say?
There are lots of future bets available on members of the Hawks and Celtics. Young and Tatum are each mid-range picks for NBA MVP at +30000 at DraftKings. The Barstool sportsbook has slightly different odds for both at +25000 to be named MVP.
Brown is in the conversation for Most Improved Player at +5000 at DraftKings.
Both coaches, Nate McMillan (Hawks) and Ime Udoka (Celtics) are +8000 to win Coach of the Year. Barstool also has the Celtics at +6000 to win the division and +2500 to reach the NBA Finals.
The good numbers
This is one of the oldest series in the NBA. The Celtics own the series lead 237-147, but the Hawks have won four of the last five meetings.
The Hawks are 26-28 against the spread and the Celtics are 31-25 (matching their real records). The Celtics have been better at home against the spread than on the road.
Atlanta averages 111.9 points a game, the Celtics 108.4.
The tale of ten
The Celtics have been the listed favorite at Caesars for nine of their last 10 games. Not counting Friday night’s game with the Nuggets.
The only game they weren’t favored was against the Hawks. In those 10, they have covered the spread seven times. The under has been a good bet lately for Celtics fans. Seven of their last 10 games have finished under the total.
The Hawks have been the listed favorite in six of their last 10 games. In those six, they have covered five times. In their last 10 games, they have covered the spread seven times total.
The under has been good for the Hawks lately too. They have finished under six times in their last 10.
A look at the last five meetings between Hawks and Celtics
Hawks 108, Celtics 92
Boston pulled to one point with 9:42 to go, but the Hawks went on a game-sealing 18-2 run. John Collins and Young each had 21 points for the Hawks.
Hawks 110, Celtics 99
The Celtics were just 11 of 42 from three-point range and Collins and Young were a force. Collins had 20 points and Young had 18 along with 11 assists.
Hawks 127, Celtics 112
It was the third meeting for the two teams in seven days. Danilo Gallinari set a Hawks franchise record with 10 three-pointers and had 38 points. The Hawks led wire to wire.
Celtics 121, Hawks 109
Kemba Walker (now a NY Knick) had a season-high 28 points, Tatum had 25 and the Celtics coasted.
Hawks 122, Celtics 114
It was the Hawks first win over the Celtics in over two years. Atlanta shot 57 percent from the field and Young poured in 40 points.