Two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference will be going at it tonight, with the Hawks having the luxury of being at home and therefore the NBA betting odds-on favorites. Here's my top pick.
The pressure is off for the Hawks after their huge winning streak came to an end. They're still the clear-cut favorites for tonight's game against the Wizards, with NBA odds listing the line at 5.5 points.
The total is at 198.5 points, with some sportsbooks offering up 199. We don't see much of an edge on either the OVER or UNDER in this spot.
At last, the streak has come to an end. Amazingly enough, Atlanta had won 19 straight games to catipult to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. The Hawks have been amazing over these past couple months, and they're set up to have a top seed come playoff time, barring a total collapse in the second half.
Atlanta saw its winning streak dry up Monday against Anthony Davis and the Pelicans. The Hawks had a difficult time, as many people do, slowing down Davis, and Evans, Eric Gordon and Omer Asik all had good games too. For Atlanta, it was a poor showing defensively and was a far cry from what we've grown accustomed to seeing out of them. Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 21 points in the road loss in the Big Easy.
Back at home, we'll have to see if the Hawks can quickly bounce back quickly. They've been exceptional at home, going 23-3 so far this season. That's a fantastic record and a large enough sample size that this Atlanta team is for real. The Hawks have DeMarre Carroll back in the fold again too, which is a further boost, so they should be liking their chances against Washington this evening.
The Wizards have not been on a good run of form lately, as they've been struggling to get any kind of positive momentum going. They've lost three straight games and are just 2-5 over their last seven games. That's put them at 31-18 overall this season, which is good for the third seed in the conference behind Atlanta and then Toronto, who take up the top two spots.
Most recently, the Wizards fell short against Charlotte in a very bad loss at home. This was a Hornets team that's missing its court general in Kemba Walker, and a team that's been incredibly disappointing this season. With that said, a loss like that is going to hurt Washington's pride, meaning you'd have to think it was a good wakeup call ahead of tonight's game against the red-hot Hawks.
We know the Wizards are going to try and take advantage of their superior backcourt situation. John Wall and Bradley Beal have been terrific all season long and they've quickly become one of the most feared duos in the entire NBA. Look for them to set the tone tonight.
As we mentioned, we don't see a huge edge on a total play. Instead we are focusing on the spread and thinking the 5.5 points could come in handy on this occasion.
Though the Hawks have obviously been scorching hot, that kind of winning run wasn't going to last forever. They now have to contend with a very good Washington team, a team that hasn't won in quite a while and would love nothing more than to stop that feeling with a win over a divisional foe.
We fully expect the Wizards to keep tonight's game close, and they have an excellent shot at a straight up win too. The moneyline, for the record, is offering up a nice price right now. Back this desperate Washington team with your NBA picks tonight.
NBA Pick: Washington Wizards +5.5 at 5Dimes