NBA Pick on Hawks to Bounce Back Strong vs. Bucks in Milwaukee

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, January 15, 2016 6:42 PM GMT

The Atlanta Hawks come off an embarrassing 23-point loss vs. the Hornets, so look for a more concerted effort visiting the Milwaukee Bucks at a venue where they have had success.

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NBA Pick: Hawks -4.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

The road team should have a strong bounce-back effort Friday night at a venue where it has excelled as the Atlanta Hawks (23-16, 19-19-1 ATS) pay a visit to the disappointing Milwaukee Bucks (16-25, 20-20-1 ATS) at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI at 8:05 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Wisconsin.

The point spread at BetOnline has Atlanta as a moderate road favorite for this contest with the current line at -3½ with NBA odds of -113.

 

Lost By 23 Points in Charlotte
The Hawks are wrapping up a brief two-game road trip here that began with a dud as Atlanta scored only 84 points and shot 37.0 percent from the field in an ugly 107-84 loss to the Hornets in Charlotte on Wednesday. That effort undoubtedly did not sit well with Coach Mike Budenholzer, who is one of the better coaches in the league, so look for a much stronger effort this evening.

As for the Bucks, they made a surprising playoff appearance as the six-seed in the East when they finished 41-41 in their first season under Coach Jason Kidd, but they have regressed badly this year in Kidd’s second season at the helm to last place in the Central Division with a 16-25 mark. Most recently the Bucks were losing NBA picks to the Wizards in Washington 106-101 on Wednesday despite shooting an uncharacteristic 52.8 percent from the field.

 

Still in First Place in the Southeast Division
It was widely expected that the Hawks would regress this season after the team won a franchise record 60 games last year and finished as the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and indeed there have been quite a few more poor performances from Atlanta this year such as the debacle on Wednesday. Through it all though, the Hawks still sit atop the Southeast Division with a 23-16 record, giving them a one-game lead over the second place Miami Heat.

Yes, the Hawks have fallen off a bit statistically, but they still have good numbers ranking ninth in the league in scoring with 102.5 points per game and seventh in field goal percentage at 46.0 percent, helping result in Atlanta ranking seventh in the league in offensive efficiency. Thus, we like the chances of the Hawks’ offense looking more like itself tonight after the clunker on Wednesday, especially vs. a sub-par Milwaukee defense.

 

One of Worst Defenses in NBA
That defense is a key reason why the Bucks have fallen back so much after showing good promise last season. Milwaukee was very good defensively when making the playoffs last year, ranking eighth in the league in points against at 97.4 per game and fifth in field goal percentage allowed at 43.7 percent. Unfortunately, Milwaukee has fallen to 23rd in the NBA in points against at 103.6 per game and 21st in field goal percentage allowed (45.7) in 2015-16.

Moreover, the Bucks are 29th or second to last in the NBA in defensive efficiency, making for a nightmarish matchup here vs. a very efficient Atlanta offense. And the offense has been unable to overcome the shortcomings of the defense, with the Bucks averaging only 97.9 points to rank 24th in the league in scoring.

That is despite the Bucks ranking a very good eighth in field goal percentage offensively, as they have been done in by ranking 28th in rebounding and 23rd in offensive turnover percentage.

 

Six Straight Wins in Milwaukee
Finally, the Hawks have dominated this head-to-head series going 10-1 straight up and 8-3 ATS overall vs. the Bucks over the last three full seasons, and that includes winning all six games here at the Bradley Center during this time while also going a perfect 6-0 ATS! The Hawks have also been quite resilient, going 15-7 ATS in their last 22 games following a straight up loss by more than 10 points.

Look for those patterns to continue in this contest with Atlanta bouncing back well as it usually does off of a bad loss with another handy win at Milwaukee on Friday.