Our contrarian play didn’t come off as expected on Saturday night as neither team mustered much offensively to give us a chance to cash the over. We’ll have an opportunity to get in the win column on Sunday with plenty of games to choose from. Let’s head to Queen City, where the Hornets will host the Atlanta Hawks.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Charlotte Hornets, Moneyline, Total and Odds
Moneyline: Hawks +132 | Hornets -156
Spread: Hawks +3.5 (-114) | Hornets -3.5 (-108)
Total: Over 235.5 (-110) | Under 235.5 (-110)
NBA Championship Odds: Hawks +6000 | Hornets +12000
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook. Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook today and get your first bet risk-free for up to $1,000.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Charlotte Hornets, News, Analysis, and Picks
The Hawks come into this contest on a three-game winning streak with victories over the Bucks, Timberwolves, and the Heat. Atlanta is now 20-25 on the year and two games out of a possible playoff play-in spot. In the previous season, we saw the Hawks have a similarly slow start before making a run to win the Southeast Division, followed by a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Bucks. As a result, Hawks fans will hope this winning streak is just a precursor of things to come for the remainder of this campaign.
The good news for Atlanta is that the team’s nucleus is still relatively the same. Like many teams, Atlanta had to deal with a COVID outbreak earlier in the season. However, that’s all now behind them, and perhaps we’re seeing a better, healthier version of the Hawks at the moment.
As for the Hornets, they’re 26-20 on the year, and given that they’re 5.5 games ahead of the Hawks in the conference standings, I can understand why they’re a 3.5-point home favorite based on the in-season power ratings. However, I think we’re getting a discount on the Hawks because of their poor start to the season.
To understand why the Hawks are undervalued, note that they rank second in the league in offensive efficiency with 110.8 points per 100 possessions. And over their past three games, that number’s jumped to 120.3. The problem for Atlanta’s been on the other end of the court as it’s last in the league in defensive efficiency, with opponents scoring 111.8 points per 100 possessions. A good defense often boils down to the level of effort the players put in. Teams aren’t always going to have good shooting nights, but the better ones can give themselves a chance by limiting their opponents’ opportunities.
While I would like to see the Hawks show a more significant commitment defensively, I think we can take advantage of backing them during this recent hot streak. Charlotte is a team that isn’t particularly strong defensively as it ranks 26th in defensive efficiency with 109.1 allowed points per 100 possessions. As a result, my model makes Charlotte closer to a 1.5-point favorite against Atlanta. That’s a total of two points of value heading into the matchup.
I can’t pass up that kind of bargain, so I’ll gladly take the points with the road underdogs.
Pick: ALT Total Over 207.5 (-126)
All NBA predictions and picks are courtesy of SportsGrid.