Eastern Conference NBA Picks: Bet Hawks -2 To Stop Red-Hot Bulls

Charles Stark

Saturday, January 9, 2016 12:20 PM GMT

Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016 12:20 PM GMT

There is no doubt in Chicago is one of the hottest teams in the NBA right now, but there is a reason why they are still the underdog in this spot versus Atlanta. Check our free NBA pick here.

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NBA Pick: Hawks -2
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

NBA odds have Atlanta at -2 right now and the total around 208. For one of my selection today I will lay just the bucket with Atlanta, who is a very good home team and playing good basketball their last 10 games. Both teams are coming off some rest so we should see a really good basketball game.

 

Chicago Bulls
Chicago is averaging 102.1 points per game on 43.6% shooting from the field, and allowing 99.7 points per game on 41.6% shooting from the field. In their last game we had under the total which hit when they played the Boston Celtics at home, and right now they are on quite a winning streak winning their last six in a row. Offensively they have been leaning a lot on Jimmy Butler who is starting to step up as their leader and for the most part they have been scoring in bunches. On the season they are averaging 88.3 field goal attempts per game which ranks third in the NBA, but their overall shooting percentage ranks in the bottom part of the league. What has surprised most people, including myself, is how good they have been from beyond the arc averaging 36.5% from distance which ranks fourth in the league. They also, in true Chicago style, hit the boards really hard averaging 58.4 rebounds per game which ranks second in the NBA. Defensively, and something I mentioned when they played Boston, is they allow more field goal attempts per game than any other team in the league at 91.9 per contest. Surprisingly this has not led to a lot of scoring from other teams thinking more shots would lead to more points, but it has been just the contrary. Chicago ranks first in opponent shooting percentage, effective field-goal percentage, shooting efficiency, and opponent two point shooting percentage. These averages do drop on the road, but not by a lot which will make tonight's matchup with an efficient Atlanta team very interesting.

 

Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta is averaging 102.5 points per game while shooting 46% from the field, and allowing 100.5 points per game on 44.9% shooting from the field. After having kind of a bumpy start to the year it seems like Atlanta is starting to come around to how they looked last season. The Hawks, or who I like to affectionately call San Antonio East, move the ball extremely well on offense averaging 25.3 assists per game which ranks third in the NBA. Their consistent movement and spacing has them among the leaders in the league offensively as they rank fifth in effective field-goal percentage, fourth in shooting efficiency, and third at 51.6% on their two point shooting. They still like to shoot from beyond the arc but are only averaging 34.3% on the year, fortunately for them they do shoot better at home which should help them tonight. Defensively there is some room for improvement as they have not done anything particularly well although they do rank in the top part of the league in opponent two point shooting percentage and points in the paint. So far on the season we can say with statistical certainty that defensively they are a middle-of-the-road team, but I anticipate for them to improve on this end of the floor by the playoffs.

Since the middle of December Atlanta has started to play much more like the team we saw last year, and I expect for them to be in the mix come playoff time. No doubt Chicago will be right there with them but for one of your NBA picks I recommend backing Atlanta tonight and going against the public. Expect the Hawks to handle business at home and win this game by over five points.

 

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