Late Showdown: Fade Blazers Our Sharp NBA Pick Against Hawks

Ted Sevransky

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 6:22 PM GMT

As the season is coming along we can sort out contenders for our NBA picks, bottom line here, the Hawks were the ‘value’ team last year at this time, the Blazers are the ‘value’ team right now.

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NBA Pick: Blazers +1.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Atlanta Hawks vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Atlanta was the single best pointspread team in the NBA last year, cashing at a 50-30-2 ATS clip during the regular season. That type of ATS success story is certainly not unheard of when a team goes from mediocrity to the #1 seed in the East.

But a closer look at what the Hawks did last year shows that their undervalued nature didn’t last very long, despite the aggregate results of the season. The Hawks were as hot ATS as any team I’ve ever seen, going 29-5 ATS from late November through late January. During that span they beat everybody, including just about every elite team in the NBA – the Warriors, Thunder, Cavs, Bulls, Clippers etc. 

For the rest of the regular season, the Hawks were moneylosers, costing their backers with a losing ATS mark following that extended stretch of excellence. Their moneylosing ways continued in the playoffs as they stepped up in class, going 6-10 against the NBA odds in the postseason.

That ATS mediocrity has continued here in the 2015-16 campaign. They’ve had only two ATS winning streaks of longer than two games all season, something worth noting as they enter tonight’s game following back-2-back spread covers against the struggling Magic and Nets. The extreme value surrounding the Hawks a year ago at this time has dissipated into dust, as the marketplace caught up. And frankly, Mike Budenholzer’s team is a long, long way from being elite right now.

Elite teams win and cover as road favorites – just ask anyone who’s been betting on the Spurs or Warriors as road chalk this year. Atlanta as a road favorite has been a major dud. On their last road trip, they were chalk at Milwaukee and Charlotte, losing both of those games in SU fashion. On their previous road trip, they lost SU as road chalk against the Knicks, on the heels of previous ‘road chalk’ losses at Minnesota, Brooklyn and Boston. The Hawks are a team that is simply not trustworthy in this role, an overvalued commodity.

The Blazers have been through the gauntlet over the last month.  They’ve dealt with key injuries, most notably to the most underrated point guard in the NBA, Damian Lilliard.  But right now, they’re as healthy as they’ve been at any point this season. The Blazers have won four of their last five, including outright upsets over the Thunder at home and the Wizards on the road. All of a sudden this team has a boatload of positive momentum and a legitimate motivator with the #8 seed in the West very much up for grabs.

When these two teams met in Atlanta just before Christmas, Lilliard and second leading scorer, his backcourt mate CJ McCollum sat out with injuries.  The Blazers were ice cold from three point range, connecting on only five makes, less than half their season average.  Portland still covered the spread in defeat, in large part due to a dominating effort on the boards from the likes of Al-Farouq Aminu, Mason Plumlee, Ed Davis and Meyers Leonard.  That low post quartet isn’t ‘sexy’, filled with big names and All Stars, but their defense and rebounding are far better than advertised. Take Blazers as your NBA Pick.