There is some very important injury info that isn’t out yet, however when the news does break it will either make or break this play. So with that in mind, keep an eye on Twitter and other news sites for this one, because our NBA pick on the game depends on it.
To Teague or not to Teague
The Hawks’ point guard, Jeff Teague doesn’t get a lot of credit for his play, but without him for the last three games, the Hawks are 1-2 SU and 2-1 ATS. While this is far from a big enough sample size, the Hawks are already without Al Horford, and this team isn’t better than anyone if Teague sits too. If Teague misses again tonight, then the play is almost certainly on the home underdogs, the Sixers. However if Teague plays, I think we have to lay off this game entirely. He reportedly did travel with the team to Philadelphia.
The Sixers have gone 7-16 ATS this season when playing at home, but the Hawks haven’t been great on the road either. Atlanta is 2-4 ATS in their last six road games, and 4-10 SU in their last 14 games away from home. Even though the Sixers haven’t played great defense overall, recently it’s gotten better, and I don’t think even a team like the Hawks can cover -4 ½ tonight. As long as Teague sits, I see the play being on the Sixers.
The Sharp Pick
In their last ten games, the Sixers are giving up an average six points less than their huge season average points allowed. Although it really didn’t have too much to do with their overall defense improving, it is at least an encouraging sign from this young and promising team. They will have to hold the Hawks to under 100 points in order to win this game outright, but covering the +4 ½ in NBA odds shouldn’t be that hard as long as Teague is out.
The Hawks are only 6-8 ATS on the road against the Eastern Conference this season, and if Teague sits again I could see the Hawks losing their 9th conference road game ATS. Even though Atlanta smothered the Sixers in their meeting in the middle of November, both Horford and Teague played in that game.
Even though the Hawks have covered four of their last six overall meetings with Philadelphia, the Sixers are 4-1 SU in their last five games against the Hawks in Philly. If they can get their offense firing on all cylinders tonight, then the Sixers have a chance of not only covering, but winning SU as well. This may be one of the only times Philadelphia has a size advantage over their opponent as well.
However I cannot stress enough that if Teague plays, this turns into a no play, so do not do anything until you confirm his status is out. Teague is worth far too much to the spread and eventual outcome of this game if he plays. An announcement of him starting would have sportsbooks spiking the line up at least a full point, and I personally believe he is a little more important than that. The Sixers can hang with Atlanta without him, but if he plays it could be a blowout in favor of the Hawks. The Sixers are only 5-15 ATS this season as home underdogs, so this play is risky as it is.
My Pick: 76ers +4 ½