NBA Betting: Atlanta Hawks @ New York Knicks

Atlanta Hawks @ New York Knicks Weds. April 17, 2013 8 p.m. ET

The Atlanta Hawks head into the regular-season finale against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden with the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference on the line. Atlanta dropped the ball at Philips Arena losing to the inferior Toronto Raptors and allowing the Chicago Bulls to rise to fifth in the East as a result.

On Wednesday night, the battle for the fifth seed gets underway with the Bulls taking on the Washington Wizards and the Hawks facing the second seed Knicks.

Atlanta will head to New York against a team that may decide to rest their starters including the league’s leading scorer in Carmelo Anthony. Although New York may bring some of their stars back on the floor in an effort to take down the Hawks in front of the hometown crowd in the regular-season finale.

Regardless of whether or not the Knicks do play their stars, which would more than likely be in a limited minutes situation, the Hawks should come out with the win on the road in order to improve their chances of officially clinching the fifth seed.

If the Hawks do end up in the fifth seed, Atlanta will face the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the NBA playoffs. If the Hawks fall to sixth, they’ll face the Indiana Pacers which isn’t the most favorable matchup for Josh Smith and company.

As of right now, the Knicks are favored to pull out the win with a -5 point spread. The fact that this game is being played at Madison Square Garden and a few stars may be on the floor, but the Nets will likely come out with the win on the road.

Prediction: Atlanta Hawks +5

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