As the Eastern Conference Playoffs continue, I am focusing my NBA Pick of the Day under the total set by odds makers for when the Washington Wizards visit the Atlanta Hawks.
Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks
Let’s forget about the last matchup when these two met because that was the Wizards starters against the Hawks reserves mostly. On the year these teams met three other times going for 208, 209, and 201. NBA odds makers have come out with this at 198, which seems to me is they expect the Wizards and Hawks to buck their regular season trend. On closer examination these teams are both tough defensively and have been playing above their normal pace in the 2015 NBA Playoffs. I think that was due to matchups though and in this first contest I look for both teams to go through a little feeling out process, play great defense, and control their tempo.
In the last three games these teams combine averaged 164 shots per contest which is about the same as their average on the year, but those games were against a more up tempo team in Brooklyn and a less astute defensive team in Toronto. This led to their scoring averages in that same time span to balloon to an average of 227 combined… wow. On the year combined the Wizards and Hawks combined for a scoring average of just over 201 points per game. Defense is the underrated focus of both these teams, the Wizards on the year were 3rd in the league in opponent field goal shooting at 43.2%, the Hawks were right behind them ranked 6th with an opponent average of 43.9%.
Although we might see some up tempo and these teams pushing the ball up the floor the odds makers have made this number well below the playoff and yearly averages for both teams. I think they are correct in setting this number lower than expected and so I will back the under in this game for my NBA pick of the day.
Free NBA Pick: Under 198.5 at 5Dimes