Heart, hustle; muscle
The Hawks are kind of like the Bulls this year. They lost their best player, and now they are suffering amongst the average, dreaming of what could have been this season. That can be very demoralizing for a team, especially after getting beat down by the East’s current best team. Without Al Horford, the Hawks are one of the worst defensive teams in the paint, and without his backup, Pero Antic, things could get even worse tonight.
The Wizards on the other hand have been pretty lucky when it comes to injuries this season. Washington is also in a very good spot tonight. They may have the deepest frontcourt in the entire NBA, as all six of their top forwards or centers could probably start on other teams. Washington will use this size advantage to punish the Hawks on the glass, and to keep Paul Millsap at bay. Teams with a lot of size and athleticism in their frontcourt have given Millsap problems this season, and he has become the only option for the Hawks.
Along with their commanding size advantage, the athletic guards of Washington might be too much for the Hawks as well. Jeff Teague is a strong defender, however John Wall is seemingly matchup proof against other PGs. Teague is no different. Wall will torch him tonight, and once he gets into the lane and breaks down Atlanta’s defense, it’s over from there.
The Sharp Pick
This year, Washington has been one of the better teams on the second night of a back to back, and I think that trend continues tonight. The Wizards are 8-5 ATS this season when playing on no rest, and I doubt being on the road is going to hurt them much here. Atlanta had to travel a little further last night after being beaten down by the Pacers in Indiana, so don’t overanalyze the travel from Washington as a deterrent from picking the Wizards tonight.
On top of being good on the second night of a back to back, the Wizards are the second best road ATS team in the NBA outside of the Suns. Washington is 18-8 ATS this season when playing away from the Verizon Center, and with their recent history against the Hawks, I bet they can continue their road dominance.
Washington has covered both meetings this year with Atlanta despite being only 1-1 SU against them this season. In fact they have also covered four in a row against the Hawks dating back to last season. The Hawks on the other hand have lost their last five games SU this season including last night, and they are 0-4-1 ATS against Washington in their last five overall meetings. For my NBA picks I’m seeing the Wizards as having both money line and spread value tonight.
My Pick: Wizards +1