NBA Pick: Underdog Value Play Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, March 17, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

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

The current eighth seed could hold value as an underdog when the two teams holding the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference right now square off Monday night as the Atlanta Hawks (29-35, 10-24 away) pay a visit to the Charlotte Bobcats (33-34, 19-14 home) at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, NC at 7:05 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Atlanta as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +2½ with odds of -110.

The Bobcats have now won four straight games and six of seven and a win tonight would get this franchise with a losing culture to .500 at 34-34! More importantly, Charlotte seems to be in line for just the second playoff appearance in the history of the franchise as it currently holds the seventh seed in the East, 2½ games ahead of these eighth seeded Hawks and six games ahead of the ninth deeded New York Knicks, who are on the outside looking in.

While this is a big game for both teams, it is probably more so for the Hawks as they lead the Knicks by 3½ games for the last playoff spot and New York has been playing a lot better lately. Then again, Atlanta has also been playing better since leading scorer Paul Millsap and his 17.7 points per game came back from injury.

The Hawks got off to a good start this season, and while they were never threats to the Big Two in the East of Indiana and Miami, they were actually the third seeds in the conference for a while. However they then plummeted down the standings once some key injuries started hitting them, but they seem to have regrouped fairly nicely since Millsap returned, losing to the Clippers by one point in Los Angeles and winning three straight since then!

And Millsap has shown just how much he was missed, averaging 21.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.7 blocks over those last three wins. For good measure, he also leads the team in steals with his 1.8 per game over the entire season.

Furthermore the Hawks have won both meetings with the Bobcats this year, running their streak to 10 straight wins straight up over Charlotte in the head-to-head series while going 5-0 ATS here in Charlotte over that period.

Yes, we get that the Bobcats are better this season than in past years, but the fact that Atlanta has still beaten them twice including a 103-94 win here at Time Warner Arena still holds weight, as a Hawks’ team with Millsap is probably still the better team and, as mentioned, has just as much incentive if not more to win this contest for playoff purposes.

The Bobcats rely on their defense as they are fourth in the NBA in points against at just 97.1 points per game and seventh in field goal percentage allowed at 44.2 percent. There again though, the Hawks have had no trouble solving the Charlotte defense scoring 103 and 118 (101 in regulation time) points respectively in the two meetings this year.

With Millsap back and producing as if he was never gone while showing no lingering effects from his injury, look for a mild upset by Atlanta on the road on Monday.

[gameodds]5/258930/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Hawks +2½ (-110)