NBA Picks: Shade Home Dogs Nuggets Against A Tough Hawks Squad

Nikki Adams

Monday, January 25, 2016 5:23 PM GMT

Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 5:23 PM GMT

Atlanta descend on Denver as the 5-point road chalk. Can they come through on market expectations or will the hosts orchestrate the upset. Here’s our preview, replete with NBA picks.

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NBA Pick: Nuggets +5 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Atlanta Hawks (26-19-0)
The Atlanta Hawks descend on the Denver Nuggets riding a two-game losing streak. Yet, odds makers install the visitors as the meaningful 5-point road chalk, a move echoed across the majority of sports betting shops. Do the bookies have it right? Or is this just optimistic posturing on the NBA odds board.

The Hawks boast a solid 26-19 mark on the season, which puts them into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Only the other day, though, they were sat pretty in third place in the standings with a 26-180 mark, but slipped down a rung in the ladder following an upset by the Suns.

The Hawks entered Saturday’s date with the Phoenix Suns as the whopping 10.5-point road faves when market doors closed. That they’d lost to the Sacramento Kings 91-88 as the 1-point road faves only a couple of days earlier didn’t take the shine off the Hawks, nor did it give markets pause. So highly touted were the Hawks over the flailing Phoenix Suns, who were riding a six-game losing streak prior to the game, a run of form that was made worse by winning just one of their last 16 games. On paper, it was the perfect game upon which to bounce back. Alas, it came to naught as the Hawks lost a tightly fought battle 98-95.

On the heels of Saturday’s loss to the Suns, the Hawks slipped to their second straight road loss, fifth road loss in seven away games since the New Year. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of their current NBA odds on the road, is it now?

The Hawks take an 11-12 away record into Monday’s clash with the Denver Nuggets, which includes a 10-12-1 ATS record highlighted by a -1.1-point losing margin and a negative 2.0-differential versus the spread on average. On paper, the Denver Nuggets strike a similar pose to the Phoenix Suns in that they are a team with a losing record, prompting the notion they are there for the taking.

Definitely, there’s credence to such a notion. But games aren’t played on paper rather on court. Seeing the mighty Hawks fall to the hapless Suns on Saturday might give the Nuggets a soupcon of hope in this game.

 

Denver Nuggets (17-27-0)
Propping up the Northwest Division and sat pretty in 11th place in the Western Conference, not a lot is redeeming about the Nuggets. They boast a subpar 17-27-0 mark for the season, which includes a 9-14 mark at home and an 8-13 mark on the road. In their last ten games, they are just 5-5 SU with most of their defeats coming to respectable opponents. Still, they’ve managed to clinch a couple of unexpected covers, if not wins altogether during this stretch, namely they surprised the Indiana Pacers 129-126 as the 2.5-point underdogs, Detroit Pistons 104-101 as the 4,5-point underdogs and, saving the best for last, the Golden State Warriors 112-110 as the whopping 9.5-point underdogs.

Inasmuch as the Denver Nuggets lack consistency, there’s an aspect of dangerous floater about them by virtue of their ability to punch above their perceived weight class, particularly with home court advantage (all the above aforementioned wins came at home).

On one hand, it makes sense that the Denver Nuggets are the home underdogs to the visiting Atlanta Hawks, but NBA bettors shouldn’t take the market outlook for granted. Clearly, this is an underdog that can on occasion deliver the upset altogether.

Denver Nuggets are 10-12-1 ATS at home with a 3.7-point losing margin and a negative -0.5-point differential against the spread. As home underdogs, they are 9-8-1 ATS with a 3.5-point losing margin and a plus 1.4-point differential versus the spread on average. In non-Conference games, they are 5-4-2 ATS with a 3-point losing margin and a plus 0.3-point differential versus the spread on average.

Betting Verdict
At face value, the market on this game makes perfect sense. On the strength of the respective seasons, the Hawks are clearly the better team overall. However, they fall short of expectations on the road, never more so than this month where they’re a poor 2-5 SU on the road in their last seven games, underscored by a few losses to lesser opposition. One expects a side of their quality to overcome their road woes eventually, but by that same token – i.e. those road woes – one has to consider the Nuggets might fancy their chances more so than odds makers would have it. After all, they felled the mighty Golden State Warriors only recently. That equates to reasonable probability for the cover at least on our NBA picks, if not the outright upset altogether.  

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