NBA Pick on Atlanta Hawks to Return to Form vs. Bucks

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, March 30, 2015 5:09 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 30, 2015 5:09 PM UTC

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Monday.


The top seeds in the Eastern Conference look to return to form Monday night to gain some momentum for the playoffs when the Milwaukee Bucks (36-37, 15-22 away) pay a visit to those Atlanta Hawks (55-18, 31-5 home) at Philips Arena in Atlanta, GA at 7:35 ET in a game available on SportSouth.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Atlanta as a home favorite for this contest with the current line at -7½ with odds of -110.

Clinched Top Seed
The Atlanta Hawks have clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference with their 55-18 mark, but they have been treading water as of late while routinely resting their starters. That is all well and good, but after going 2-4 both straight up and ATS in their last six games, it may behoove the Hawks to at least try and get a little momentum before the playoffs begin, especially with many observers considering their season a fluke.

The Milwaukee Bucks have made a tremendous turnaround, going from being the worst NBA pick in the league last season at 15-67 to making the playoffs this year, currently as the sixth seeds in the weak Eastern Conference. However, a recent slump now leaves Milwaukee under .500 at 36-37 and just two games ahead of the seventh seeded Miami Heat with nine games remaining.

All Starters Playing Including Teague
The Hawks fourth loss in the last six games came on the road vs. the Charlotte Hornets 115-100 on Saturday, but that was with all of their starters resting. That does not figure to be the case tonight with the Hawks intending to play their regular lineup, and that now includes Jeff Teague, who is giving it a go after missing the last two games with an ankle injury.

It is also noteworthy that Atlanta has been on the road a lot lately with only two of their last 10 games coming here at Philips Arena, so perhaps that may make this a nice spot to try and regain its early season form with at least some if not all of the starters expected to rest again tomorrow night in the second game of a back-to-back on the road at Detroit.

And when the Hawks are at full strength and playing up to their full potential, they are third in the NBA in field goal percentage at 46.5 percent and second in three-point shooting at 38.6 percent offensively while also ranking fifth in points against at 97.3 per game and eighth in field goal percentage allowed at 43.8 percent defensively.

Bucks Slumping since Curious Trade of Knight
The Bucks come off of their seventh loss in the last nine games 108-95 to the league-best Golden State Warriors on Saturday to dip back below .500 after winning their previous two games to get back to .500 following a six-game losing streak. Still, Milwaukee was securely in the playoffs and seemingly on its way to a winning season after the nightmare of last season before curiously trading away Brandon Knight to Phoenix at the trade deadline.

Knight gave Milwaukee a steadying, veteran presence at the point guard position as was averaging 17.8 points, 5.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals at the time of the trade, and the Bucks have gone only 7-12 straight up and 5-14 ATS since the trade while averaging just 94.4 points per game.

The Bucks are a much younger team right now with Michael Carter-Williams and Khris Middleton starting in the backcourt, and while that may bode well for the future when the injured Jabari Parker is added back into the mix next year, the trade of Knight may have sabotaged Milwaukee’s chances to win a round in the playoffs this season and it is now just trying to hold on to the sixth spot in the East.

Atlanta Won and Covered Last Two Meetings
The last two times these teams met both came before the Hawks clinched the top seed and were still playing at their peak, and Atlanta won and covered both of those contests on the road in Milwaukee by scores of 97-86 and 90-85 respectively. The Hawks may also remember that they played one of their worst games of the season the only time these teams met here in Atlanta this season in a 107-77 loss back in December and may be looking to make amends.

Look for Atlanta to take this opportunity with all the starters playing at home to get back on track with a decisive double-digit win over Milwaukee on Monday.

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NBA Pick: Hawks -7½ (-110)

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