It has been a while since anyone touted the Atlanta Hawks as championship contenders.
The team hasn't even been to the NBA Finals since 1961, when it played in St. Louis. This season, the Hawks are 34-27, tied for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference with the red-hot New York Knicks. There's no real signs that this Hawks team is ready to win a title.
The Knicks are getting all the attention lately, but one bettor loves the Hawks' chances of winning the East, and taking the NBA Finals, too.
BetMGM took in two huge bets on NBA futures, and both were on the fairly under-the-radar Hawks. If the Hawks win it all, that bettor will take in a cool $2 million.
Two big bets come in on Hawks
BetMGM did not say the two big bets came from the same bettor, but it would be a heck of a coincidence if two different people dropped five figures on the Hawks.
One bet was $10,000 on the Hawks at +5000 odds to take the Eastern Conference, which would win $500,000. The other was a $10,000 bet on the Hawks to win the NBA Finals at +15000 odds. That bet would win $1.5 million.
In response to the big bets, BetMGM moved the lines. Atlanta moved from +5000 to +4000 to win the East and from +15000 to +10000 to win the NBA title.
That's bold. It would pay well. But why the Hawks?
Hawks have been on a nice roll
The Hawks don't get the attention of the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks or even the Knicks in the East, but they have been playing well.
Atlanta is 20-7 since March 1. The Hawks continued to play well despite an injury to Trae Young, and beat the Bucks on Sunday night without their star. The Hawks have gone 5-2 without Young, which speaks to their depth. Kevin Huerter, Clint Capela, John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanović and Young provide a good core, and there's veteran depth behind them.
The East is tough but each of the top teams have flaws. The Nets can't stay healthy or play defense. The 76ers rely heavily on Joel Embiid staying healthy, which hasn't always happened. The Bucks have been inconsistent all season and can't seem to get over the hump in the playoffs. While you'd likely pick one of those three to win the conference, you can make a case against any of them.
Maybe the Hawks will pay off big. The odds were certainly good, especially before two big bets took them down a bit.
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