Outstanding Defense Makes Hawks +1.5 The Sharp NBA Pick vs. Jazz

Swinging Johnson

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 3:43 PM GMT

The Hawks invade Salt Lake City after winning four of their last five while the Jazz had been singing the blues losing five straight until their victory over the Pelicans on Saturday night. Let’s review the NBA odds and nail down a winner in our NBA picks tonight.

Atlanta Hawks (35-28 SU, 32-30-1 ATS)
The Hawks have gotten defensive lately and it has borne fruit in the form of four wins in their last five outings. What has been even more impressive is that they have covered the NBA odds in all five contests including their lone loss to Golden State by the score of 109-105 as 5 ½ point road dogs. Setting aside the 109 points they surrendered to one of the most prolific scoring juggernauts in recent memory, the Hawks limited their other four opponents to 84.5 points per game. Atlanta is now ranked 6th in defense allowing a season average of 99.4 PPG.

Atlanta spent Friday and Saturday night at the Staples Center and crushed the woeful Lakers 106-77, only to return the following night to upset the Clippers 107-97 as 5 ½ point road underdogs. After watching the Clips drop 37 points on them in the opening quarter the Hawks locked on defensively and held LA to just 60 points the rest of the way. The Hawks out-rebounded the Clips 53-41, helped by the impressive performance of Paul Millsap who bucketed 20 points and grabbed a whopping 18 rebounds.

 

Utah Jazz (29-33 SU, 29-30-3 ATS)
The eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference is still up for grabs and the Jazz have plenty of time to close the 1 ½ game gap between them and the Houston Rockets. Utah woke up after a five game losing streak and dispatched the Pelicans down on the Bayou 106-94 as 1 ½ point road dogs on Saturday night. Not only was it their first win in six games but they have been vaporizing bankrolls of all those have included them in their NBA picks recently. Before their win over New Orleans the Jazz failed to cover in nine of their last 10 opportunities.

Seven-foot-one inch center Rudy Gobert has been cleaning the glass with authority over the last five games despite his team’s inability to chalk up wins. Gobert notched 18 rebounds in the win over New Orleans and has averaged 15 boards per contest over his last five games. Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors lead the team in scoring this season for Utah averaging 20.1 and 16.9 points respectively. The team now returns home after a four game road trip that saw them go 1-3 straight up and 1-2-1 ATS.

 

Betting Analysis
These clubs have only met once this season with Utah eking out a 97-96 victory over the Hawks in Atlanta back in November. The last time these teams played in Salt Lake City was in January of 2015 where the Hawks came out on top 98-92 as 4 ½ point road dogs. This season the Hawks have a pedestrian 16-16 mark on the highway (16-15-1 ATS) while the Jazz have enjoyed success at home with a straight up record of 19-12 and a 16-13-2 ATS mark.

What we have tonight are two teams going in different directions. Despite Utah’s victory Saturday night against a fairly lousy Pelicans’ team the Jazz are lacking scoring punch despite getting solid defensive efforts that rank them 3rd in points allowed. However, nobody in the Eastern Conference or the entire NBA is playing better D than the Hawks right now and when you factor in Utah’s complete lack of offense (27th) I ask how is a team so weak offensively going to put points on the board against an opponent that has been playing suffocating defense? The quick answer is – they won’t.

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NBA Picks: Hawks +1.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes