NBA Betting Guide for Thursday, December 23: Fade The Hawks To Start Slow On Thursday

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We successfully faded the Hawks on Wednesday as a nine-point favorite based on their depleted roster. With a second game now on on the road on back-to-back nights, I see no reason to deviate from that strategy. Let’s head to Philadelphia for a closer look into this matchup.

The Atlanta Hawks are shorthanded with five players in COVID-19 protocols. It’s worth noting that one of those players includes Trae Young, who leads the team with 27.3 points and 9.3 assists per game. Young is averaging ten points more than any other player on the Hawks team. He also ranks seventh in league with a 26.11 player efficiency rating (PER). That type of production is hard to come by; never mind replacing it.

The other problem for the Hawks is they don’t have another facilitator on their team. No Hawks’ player with a minimum of 20 games has more than 2.7 assists per game. So essentially, if you take Young out of the equation, there’s a good chance the Hawks will be lost entirely on offense. That’s mainly why I decided to fade the Hawks on Wednesday night. In two days, the Hawks essentially went from a nine-point favorite to a 10.5-point underdog. This is a pretty big adjustment as sportsbooks are scrambling to adjust for a lousy line they put up against the Magic.

But Young’s not the only key player sidelined for the Hawks. Danilo Gallinari, Clint Capela, and Lou Williams are also ruled out. All three players are at least capable of scoring in double figures. Furthermore, Capela provides Atlanta even more coverage on the interior as a defender. Capela at least gives the Hawks a chance to defend against Joel Embiid inside the post. When Embiid’s motivated, he’s as good as any player in the league.

However, as attractive as the 76ers look in this spot, I’m not willing to lay double-digits with them for the entire game. As a result, I’ll look to back them in the first half at -6.5. Atlanta trailed the 7-25 Magic by 10 points after the first half on Wednesday. Now they’ll have to step up in class against the 76ers. Lay the first-half points with the better team at home.

I’d recommend risking a half-unit of your bankroll on this play.

Pick: 76ers 1H -6.5 (-120 at a 1/2 unit) 

All NBA predictions and picks are courtesy of SportsGrid.

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