To playoff, or not to playoff
The Hawks are in a position only the Hawks could find themselves in. Atlanta is holding onto the 8th seed that they probably don’t want, because they will likely be embarrassed and swept by the Heat. Even though Danny Ferry himself has publically stated that the Hawks’ goal is not to be the 8th seed, here they are on April 8th, two games up on the Knicks with six to go.
Tonight their opponent should be an easy one, but the Pistons won their most recent meeting with Atlanta, but tonight the NBA Odds have the Hawks as -6 ½ favorites, with a total of 210. Even though the GM doesn’t want to make the playoffs, that doesn’t mean that the players don’t. They are the ones who decide the game, and even though the Pistons will have a distinct size advantage on the Hawks, I think Atlanta could be the play here as -6 ½ favorites.
Despite their big advantage in size, the Pistons’ don’t translate it into defense. They are giving up over 105 points per game on the road this season, and just over 107 per game in their last ten games. Atlanta has played solid at home this season, and even tough they are only around .500 ATS at home on the year, they play solid defense in Atlanta, giving up under 100 points per game.
The Sharp Pick
The Pistons are only 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall, and they are 10-17 ATS in their last 27 games this season. Atlanta on the other hand has covered their last two games in a row, and they have won and covered three of their last five. With Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague playing well at home, I could see the Hawks getting the win and cover.
Even though the Pistons will want to play spoiler, (especially Josh Smith who is coming back to Atlanta for only the second time) I don’t think they can play good enough defense to get the cover here. The Hawks will be able to almost score at will, and dare I say the Piston have been playing worse than Philadelphia on defense over the last few months.
Detroit has given up over 100 points per game in seven straight games, and tonight against the Hawks on the road, that streak is almost certainly going to eight. With the Hawks’ magic number down to three, and after their blowout victory over the Pacers, I am pretty bullish on the Hawks ATS down the stretch. Any of these teams out West fighting for a playoff spot are kind of included in this, but they are the teams I think you should target heavily here in the last ten days of the regular season.
That includes tonight, so add the Hawks to your NBA Picks.
My Pick: Hawks -6 ½