NBA Picks: Hawks Winning Streak Will Continue Against Blazers

Jordan Sharp

Monday, December 21, 2015 4:20 PM GMT

Both of these teams have severely, and probably predictably regressed from where they were at this point last season, but tonight against one another, the NBA Odds have the Hawks as -7 favs.

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NBA Pick: Hawks -7
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Back-To-Backs and Lillard Injury
There are two big factors looming in this game that could make the difference between profit and a loss tonight. The Blazers are coming off a hard fought game yesterday in Miami against the Heat, where most of their starters logged heavy minutes in the early-afternoon start time. Portland has been pretty bad on the heels of back to backs this season, going 1-6 SU and 2-5 against the NBA odds. Their young team and lack of depth likely contributes to that a lot, but even more important to the game tonight might be the fact that not only are they coming in on little to no rest, they may have a less than 100 percent Damian Lillard.

Lillard reportedly irritated his plantar fascia in yesterday’s game, and if for some reason he is less than fully healthy, or he even misses the game altogether, it could spell bad news for the Blazers SU and ATS tonight. Lillard still has never missed a game in his entire career, so it would be a bigger deal than normal is he was forced to miss the game.

While there aren’t many reports on the severity, he did drop 32 points yesterday to go along with nine assists, so one would think he could have been playing through the injury for more than just part of yesterday’s game. According to a report from NBC, he said after the game that his heel was “a little bit sore,” and that he aggravated it some more in the loss to Miami.

Even if he plays tonight, it might be a lot less than the big performance we saw yesterday against the Heat, and even though Atlanta also played yesterday in the state of Florida, the Hawks have been a little better off back to backs at 3-4 ATS and 4-3 SU. The Hawks have had their own problems this season, but just speaking frankly, if there is even the slightest chance that Lillard misses tonight, laying the points with the Hawks at where they are priced now at -7 is a bargain.

 

The Sharp Pick
Even if Lillard guts it out and doesn’t break his streak of consecutive games played, the Hawks still present a pretty good value. Atlanta has now won three straight games after yesterday, and two of them were hard fought against tough, playoff caliber teams in the Eastern Conference. Portland on the other hand has been slipping, especially against the Eastern Conference. The Blazers are 1-8 SU and 2-7 ATS against the East this season, and they have not won a game SU on the road in the East yet this season. In those five non-conference road games, the Blazers are only 1-4 ATS, and they have given up 106 points per game in that stretch.

Needless to say, the Hawks haven’t been dominant like they were a season ago, and while more of that can be attributed to not having DeMarre Carroll this season, the Hawks can still beat a Blazers team with Lillard, CJ McCollum and not much else. Take the Hawks as the NBA pick.