Free NBA Picks: +1.5 Spread Makes Hawks Great Value Choice vs. Raptors

Joe Gavazzi

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 2:29 PM GMT

Hawks visit the Raptors in this 7:35 ET tip. These two have matched up twice before this season with Toronto emerging with a (104-96) victory as well as (96-86) in Atlanta. See my NBA pick inside.

Atlanta Hawks vs. Toronto Raptors
t That makes the series record 6-1 SU ATS in favor of Toronto.  Currently, Toronto has a 5-game lead on Atlanta for the 2nd seed in the East.  Should these teams meet in the playoffs, Atlanta, who is playing the better ball right now, will not want to have lost 3 straight to this team. 

Though Toronto trails Cleveland by just 2 ½ games for the top spot in the East, they are clearly not playing with any urgency.  They enter tonight on a 3-6 ATS slide on this court and have won just 6 of their most recent 10 games.  This game opened with Toronto as a 2 ½ point favorite.  But, Toronto HC Casey has outwardly stated that his team’s full health is his priority for the playoffs, regardless of what seed Toronto gets.  For that reason, it will be no surprise if Casey chooses to rest his best player, Lowry, who is suffering from elbow inflammation

Though Atlanta currently holds down the No. 3 seed, they are locked in a race with Miami, Boston and Charlotte (all of whom are playing well) for the 1st Round home court advantage for either the No. 3 or No. 4 seed.  Currently, Atlanta leads these 3 teams by no more than 1 game in the loss column.  

For that reason, I expect the Hawks to continue to play with the full focus that they have shown this entire month.  Atlanta enters the game on runs of 14-3 SU, 13-4 ATS.  Their dominance in this stretch is depicted by the fact they are averaging 106 PPG on 47% shooting, while holding the opposition to 96 PPG on 41% from the field.  Atlanta has covered 7/9 recent games on the road, despite getting back doored Monday night in a (102-100) win at Chicago, when Derek Rose knocked down a triple in the closing seconds to cross over the closing line of (-3-) in a 102-100 Atlanta victory.

It is clear that each of these teams is playing with dichotomous motivation in the closing weeks of the season.  The Hawks are playing well in their quest for home court advantage for the upcoming playoffs, while the Raptors’ motivation is to keep their players healthy.  I invite you to put the NBA odds in your favor and join me in my NBA picks on Atlanta tonight. By the way, don't forget to stop by our NBA picks of the day article for more great value picks to choose from on Wednesday's slate. 

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Free NBA Pick: Atlanta +1
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes