On Wednesday, April 17th, the No. 10 Atlanta Hawks take on the No. 9 Chicago Bulls in the NBA Play-In Tournament. The winner of this game will take on the loser of Wednesday’s meeting between the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat. The outcome will then decide who takes on the Boston Celtics in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. With that in mind, keep reading for our preview of the game, which will be played at the United Center at 9:30 pm ET on Wednesday.

Make sure you come back to VSiN throughout the course of the NBA Playoffs. We’ll have previews of every single series, daily best bets and player props from Zach Cohen and myself, and betting trends and insights from our analytics guru Steve Makinen.


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How To Watch Bulls vs. Hawks

Where: United Center in Chicago, IL

When: 9:30 pm ET on Wednesday, April 17th

Channel: ESPN

Bulls vs. Hawks Prediction

It would be hard to put together a less interesting game than this contest between the Bulls and the Hawks in the second Eastern Conference play-in. Neither team shows real potential to push Boston should it make it out of this round, and both are in relatively poor form.

Atlanta is in the worst shape heading into this contest. The Hawks went 0-6 SU in their last six regular season contests, and they are 1-7 ATS in their last eight. Chicago is in slightly better form at 3-4 SU/4-3 ATS in its last seven games. However, regular season form is a thing of the past. Playoff games like these are more about on-court matchups, and how teams exploit mismatches they can create.

One of the biggest mismatches that the Hawks can create is with their backcourt. Trae Young is back in the fold after missing over a month with a finger injury. In three games back Young has averaged 15 points and 10 assists on 57.7% shooting from the floor. His ability to attack Nikola Vucevic on defense will be paramount. Jalen Brunson scored 40 points in the regular season finale doing just that, and Chicago was -8 in his minutes in that contest.

Atlanta has also steered more into using their best players, and has been starting Bogdan Bogdanovic alongside Young and Dejounte Murray. The Hawks are taking a higher frequency of 3-point attempts since the All-Star break (38.1%) while shooting 37.9% from deep. The Bulls allow the highest amount of 3-point attempts to opponents (41.7%) which should fit nicely into what Atlanta wants to do here.

The betting market has held steady at the opening number here, but we could see a move toward Chicago the closer we get to tip-off on Wednesday. The current number is playable now, but bettors can hold out and see if a better one appears before jumping on the road team.

Pick: Hawks (+3)

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