NBA Pick on Hawks to Wrap Up Series in Brooklyn in Game 6

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, May 1, 2015 1:51 PM UTC

Friday, May. 1, 2015 1:51 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 Friday.


Look for the top seeds in the Eastern Conference to finally put an end to what has been a surprisingly tight NBA Playoff series when those Atlanta Hawks (63-24, 25-18 away) this time pay a visit to the eighth seeded Brooklyn Nets (40-47, 21-22 home) for Game 6 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY at 8:05 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN, with the Hawks leading the series 3-2.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Atlanta as a moderate road favorite for this contest with the current line at -4 with odds of -105.

Home Team Has Won Every Game
This was not expected to be much of a series before it began, with quite a few experts calling for Atlanta to win in a four-game sweep. After all, the Hawks dominated the East for much of the season and even though they eased up toward the end with the top seed clinched, they still won 60 games for the first time in franchise history.

Meanwhile the Nets needed help just to grab the eighth seed with a losing 38-44 record, as they needed the Indiana Pacers to lose their regular season finale to get in, with Indiana obliging with a loss at Memphis after Brooklyn had already won its final game.

And yet here we are with the eight seeds going head-to-toe with the top seeds and the home teams being the winning NBA picks straight up in every game to this point and the Nets going 4-0 ATS over the first four games despite being underdogs in every game of this series. The Hawks did finally get an ATS cover in Game 5 though winning 107-97 and that contest may have served notice that the Nets got their attention and that Atlanta is now ready to play up to its potential.

Hawks Finally Asserting Themselves
The Hawks had yet to play well both offensively and defensively at the same time in this series in the first four games, as Atlanta shot 39.0 percent overall and 30.9 percent beyond the three-point arc in the first three games, and then when the offense got going in Game 4, the defense did not show up in a 120-115 overtime loss. Then the Hawks finally came closer to resembling the team that won 60 games in Game 5 Wednesday.

The Hawks shot 48.2 percent from the field in that contest including 39.4 percent from three-point land, which was more par for the course for an Atlanta team that ranked fourth in the NBA in field goal percentage at 46.6 percent and second in three-point shooting at 38.0 percent during the regular season while averaging 102.5 points per game. In fact, all five Hawk starters scored in double-digits for the second straight game on Wednesday!

The difference between Game 4 and Game 5 though was that the defense, which finished fifth in points against at 97.1 per game, sixth in field goal percentage allowed and seventh in three-point defense, actually showed up on Wednesday while basically allowing its season average in points. And when the Hawks play at their best on both ends, they are simply the far superior team in this series.

Brooklyn Cannot Keep Up Offensively
Now, give the Nets and Coach Lionel Hollins credit for doing an excellent scouting job on the Hawks, as the Brooklyn defense was a disappointment during the season ranking 18th in points against at 100.9 per game, 22nd in field goal percentage allowed and 23rd in three-point defense, and yet Hollins and his staff devised a great game plan defensively over those first three games.

However, the Hawks began to solve that defense the last two games particularly on the perimeter, with Atlanta getting many more open looks, and that should mark the beginning of the end for the Nets. That is because when the Nets break down defensively, they lack the offense to keep pace with the explosive Hawks, ranking 21st in the league in scoring during the season at 98.0 points per game.

That lack of offense was the reason why the Nets actually lost two of the first three games when their defense was outstanding, and they won Game 4 with one of their best offensive performances of the entire year, which is something that does not figure to get repeated with the Hawks on the verge of ending this series.

Best ATS Team in NBA During Season
And let us not forget after all that Atlanta was the best ATS team in the entire NBA this season at 50-30-2, 62.5 percent ATS overall, and that record probably would have been better if they did not ease up and rest starters on occasion down the stretch. Also note that the Hawks are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games following an ATS win, a trend that finally applies here after the Nets had covered the first four games.

We look for superior talent to buck the success of the home teams in this series to this point in this elimination game, so take Atlanta to both win and cover the spread on the road in Brooklyn to end this series in six games on Friday.

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NBA Pick: Hawks -4 (-105)

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