Atlanta Battles For Third NBA Spot In The East When Hosting Raptors

Charles Stark

Thursday, April 7, 2016 2:35 PM GMT

With the playoffs still a little bit up in the air in the EC Toronto travels to Atlanta as the season starts to wind down. Will Hawks break their losing streak against the Raptors? Check our NBA pick.

Odds makers have come out making Atlanta a -6 favorite like at Pinnacle Sports -105. For one of my NBA picks today I'm going to back Atlanta minus the points to take care of business at home and beat Toronto by close to double digits. Atlanta has been one of the hotter teams in the league over the past few weeks and I expect for them to play great tonight.

Toronto Raptors
Toronto averages 102.7 points per game and defensively rank fourth in the NBA in opponent points in the paint and opponent field goals made per game. I believe Toronto along with Atlanta and Boston all have a legitimate shot to dethrone the Cleveland Cavaliers as the Eastern Conference champion. However, tonight they will have some tough matchups on the road versus an Atlanta team that has been playing extremely well and also looking for a little bit of revenge.

On the season Toronto has been one of the more controlled teams in the league putting up just 81.2 field goal attempts per game which ranks 29th in the NBA. They also surprisingly rank 29th in assists per game at just 18.6 per contest, but this lack of offensive momentum has not put a hinder in the win loss column.

Defensively they've really stepped things up this season and along with their pace they controlled the tempo of a lot of their games allowing opponents just 82.1 field goal attempts per game which ranks fifth in the NBA. They are good at limiting fast-break points and easy buckets, and for the most part have been one of the better defensive teams this season. Still, in my opinion Atlanta is a tough matchup for them and I expect Toronto to have trouble scoring tonight.

 

Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta averages 102.9 points per game and defensively rank first and second in the NBA in opponent overall and two point shooting percentage respectively. These last few weeks Atlanta has been playing really good basketball and they have won seven of their last 10 games with their most current losses being at the Raptors and then a two point loss to Cleveland at home. Check the NBA odds boards to find the best fit for your bet on this game.

I really like the flow of Atlanta's offense and defensively they're one of the best teams not only in the Eastern Conference but in the league. Atlanta averages 25.7 assist per game which ranks second in the league and they also are very efficient ranking sixth and seventh in the NBA in effective field-goal percentage and shooting efficiency respectively.

On the other side of the ball they're very good and can defend from the inside out allowing just 40.7 opponent points in the paint per game which ranks eighth in the league and allowing opponents to shoot just 33.6% from distance which ranks fifth in the NBA. Although this game is important to Toronto finishing up the season it is more important to Atlanta so I expect from them to be fully focused tonight as they battle for that third spot in the Eastern Conference.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2883633, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,92,238,169,349], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
Free NBA Pick: Atlanta Hawks -7 (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Bovada