Free NBA Pick: Hawks To Take All The Puff Out Of Wizards ATS

Jay Pryce

Monday, March 21, 2016 11:39 AM GMT

The Hawks and Wizards square off on Monday for the first of a back-to-back affair. Both enter the matchup with red-hot defenses. Which unit will prevail? NBA Pick and betting analysis here. 

Washington Wizards (34-35 SU, 35-34 ATS)
Washington is picking up steam in the final calendar month of the season, winning its last four games overall, including a 99-89 dismantling of the Knicks on Saturday. Coach Randy Wittman's men sit 1.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the East currently held by the getting-healthier Bulls. Can they carry their momentum into Atlanta and pull off the upset? Maybe.

The Wizards are a bit of a giant killer this season. Tied with the Trail Blazers and Pistons, they lead the NBA in upset wins (as underdogs) over teams with a winning record with 11 apiece, including beating the Cavaliers twice and the Spurs in Washington. But they've had their fair share of trouble in the Gate City in recent years, going 2-16 SU versus the Hawks; 2-10 under Wittman's guidance.

Since the All-Star weekend and Wittman's greater emphasis on defense, the team is giving up 100.0 points on 44.2 percent shooting per game, a nice-sized improvement over the 105.4 on 47.1 from the field prior. The Wiz, in fact, own the most efficient unit in the league over the last five games, yielding 94.3 points per 100 possessions.

John Wall, the Eastern Conference assists leader, is unstoppable right now. Posting a game-high 24 points with 10 helpers last time out against New York, the star PG has registered a double-double in seven of his last eight games. He's posted four in 11 attempts at Philips Arena lifetime, but is 47 for 118 (.398%) from the floor against the trio of Atlanta point guards (Jeff Teague, Dennis Schroeder, and Kirk Hinrich), a tick below his .430 career average.

 

Atlanta Hawks (41-29 SU, 37-31-2 ATS)
The Hawks own the second most efficient defense in the NBA behind the Spurs, yielding 101.3 points per 100 possessions. The points allowed improve to 100.0 when at home, where they've yielded just 85.8 points on average in their last five. The defense has held foes to 12 points below their projected team total overall in this stretch.

Offensively, Atlanta averages 104.5 points a night on 47.7 percent shooting as home chalk. PF Paul Millsap leads the team in scoring with 17.3 a night, but five players post double figures on average overall. Since Tiago Splitter went down with a season-ending hip injury, Al Horford has assumed more offensive responsibilities at the center position. Bettors should take note, too. Putting up 15.5 points per game, when the eight-year pro posts 16 or more a night, the Hawks are 20-8 SU and 18-10 against the NBA odds boards, beating the number by nearly three points.

Atlanta tosses up the seventh most attempts in the league from behind the arc with 27.7 per game, and sees their scoring increase against foes struggling to guard the zone. Washington allows 37.1 percent of long-distance shots to go in, 27th in the league. In 18 games against teams allowing 36 percent or more, the Hawks score 105.4 points per game as opposed to 101.7 versus better.

 

Final Analysis
Atlanta gets the better of good offenses in Philips Arena when expected to claim victory in the betting market. It has tipped off as home chalk 15 times versus teams averaging 100.5 points or more night, holding all but three below their projected team total for an average of 93.7 points. The Hawks are 12-2-1 ATS with a winning margin of 12.5 points, taking all but one matchup by 6 points or more. We expect a similar performance tonight. Hawks -6 is the NBA pick.

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NBA Pick: Hawks -6.5
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle