Free NBA Picks for Hawks vs. Raptors

Jordan Sharp

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 3:57 PM GMT

The Raptors head into Atlanta tonight to face the Hawks, and the NBA Odds have Toronto as a -6 road favorite, with a total of 200 points. The Hawks are coming off a game last night in Chicago, so will Atlanta come to play more than last night, or will tough defense from the Raptors ruin their homecoming?

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Raptors’ surprising season

At the beginning of the season, the Raptors were already counting the ping-pong balls they would have in the lottery, however this team might be looking at home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. With smothering defense and balanced offensive production, the Raptors may be the third or fourth best team in the Eastern Conference.

Tonight against a Hawks team coming off the back to back, I expect the Toronto defense to clamp down and not let go. As long as they don’t let Paul Millsap get loose and score a bunch of points, the Raptors could very easily win and cover this game. The Hawks have been having a horrible time stopping people down low without Al Horford, and they have had an even worse time trying to get consistent scoring behind Millsap.

Jeff Teague is a third option playing the role of second option on the Hawks because of the injury to Horford, and since coming back from his ankle injury, he has struggled. Teague has scored more than 12 points just once in the Hawks’ last six games, and he has failed to hit double figures in two of those six games. Tonight against Kyle Lowry’s plus defense, I doubt Teague has a good game tonight.

Even with the Raptors’ defense struggling at times on the road this season, they are bigger, more athletic and much more rested than the Hawks right now. Six points is a lot on the road, however the Raptors are 6-3 ATS as road favorites this season, and I see them getting their seventh cover tonight.

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The Sharp Pick

With Atlanta coming off the back to back, I can’t see them being able to score on the stout Raptors defense. The Hawks are only 4-7 ATS this season when playing on the second night of a back to back, and they are only 1-4 SU and ATS in their last five games.

The Raptors on the other hand might be the most undervalued team of the second quarter of the season. In their last 25 games, the Raptors are 18-6-1 ATS. This kind of long-term trend is what I’m looking for when I want to lay points with a large road favorite, and with the Hawks tired, Toronto is the play for tonight's NBA pick.

The Bulls were able to hold the Hawks to 85 points last night, and heading back home isn’t going to help Atlanta’s cause too much. Interestingly enough, there is a bunch of severe weather in Atlanta right now, so the basketball odds of this game being scheduled are higher than most. Keep that in mind tonight, but either way I like the rested Raptors, even on the road.

NBA Pick: Raptors -6