Hawks vs. Kings: Back-To-Back Games Favor 'Under' As The NBA Pick

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, January 21, 2016 2:54 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 2:54 PM UTC

Generally NBA odds favor the home team when both it and the visitor is on the second of a back-to-back and that's the case Thursday when Atlanta visits Sacramento.

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NBA Pick: Under 216
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


Hawks Rising Up East Standings
Atlanta started a four-game trip through the Western Conference with a 104-98 victory in Portland on Wednesday, the Hawks' third straight victory following a two-game skid. Forward Paul Millsap continued his All-Star-caliber play with 23 points (on just 10 field-goal attempts), nine rebounds, two assists and two steals with only one turnover in 34 minutes. Fellow starting forward Kent Bazemore also filled up the stat sheet with 23 points, five rebounds and three assists. Al Horford added 16 points and eight rebounds. The Hawks won after being outrebounded 50-43 but gave up just eight second-chance points. If you want to nitpick, Atlanta's point guard play between Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder was a bit shaky as they combined to shoot 9-for-29 with seven turnovers. This will be a big game for Schroder as he grew up idolizing the Kings' Rajon Rondo when Rondo was starring with the Celtics. Schroder has often been called the "German Rondo" for his style of play.

The Hawks swept the season series with Portland and have won four straight over the Trail Blazers. Atlanta is now a season-best nine games over .500 at 26-17 and Coach Mike Budenholzer moved into a tie for eighth place on the franchise's all-time wins list with 124. The Hawks are 10-6 against the Western Conference this season and 11-10 on the road.

This will be the Hawks' final game ever in Sleep Train Arena as the Kings are moving to a new building next season. Atlanta is 22-20-1 against the spread this season on NBA odds and 22-21 'over/under.'


Kings A Playoff Team?
Could Sacramento (18-23) actually make the postseason this year? I believe it could -- it helps that the West is down at the bottom of the standings and the Kings are currently No. 8. There's certainly enough talent on this roster to do so with All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, Rondo and Rudy Gay leading the way. There's been some talk, however, that the Kings would trade Gay in the right package.

The Kings won a third straight on Wednesday, all on the road, 112-93 at the L.A. Lakers. Cousins dominated with 36 points and 16 rebounds, while Rondo had 11 points and 17 assists (his 11th game this season with at least 15 helpers, by far the most in the NBA). Sacramento closed the game on a 21-6 run. Is there a better center in the NBA than Cousins?  I'd have trouble finding one. He's averaging 31.7 points, 13.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists this month, in which the Kings are 6-3. He has scored at least 30 points in seven of his last nine games. And Cousins apparently is even getting along with head coach George Karl.

“I don’t know anybody playing at this level in the NBA right now,” Karl said. “I hope the NBA recognizes it and gives him the opportunity to play in Toronto (for the All-Star Game).”

Sacramento hasn't been good in the second of back-to-backs this season. The Kings had lost their first nine attempts to win the second of those situations before winning at Utah last Thursday. The Kings are 20-21 ATS on NBA picks this season and 19-21-1 O/U.


Last Meeting
On Nov. 18 in Atlanta, the Hawks were 2.5-point favorites with a total of 209 and they won 103-97. Millsap had 23 points and 16 rebounds and hit the clinching shot with 15.7 seconds left. The Hawks had been up 11 with 2:49 left before the Kings went on a 9-0 run to make things interesting. Cousins had 24 points and 12 rebounds for Sacramento and Rondo a triple-double of 12 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Rondo also turned it over seven times and the Kings gave it away 20 total. Schroder added 22 points for Atlanta as he started in place of the injured Teague. Bazemore also missed that game. The Kings have lost 15 straight to the Hawks. Seven of those have come in Sacramento.


Final Analysis
Kings end the losing streak in series. Go 'under' the total. Sacramento is 4-1 ATS in its past five after a win. The Kings are 5-2 ATS in their past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The 'under' is 4-1 in Atlanta's past five. The 'under' is 9-3 in the Kings' past 12 after a win.  

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