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Atlanta Hawks at Charlotte Hornets Betting Preview

 

The first game of the NBA's Sunday schedule is an Eastern Conference battle, with the Atlanta Hawks visiting the Charlotte Hornets. The action tips off at 1 pm ET.

 

Both teams have shown more than in years past, sitting squarely in the mix of the playoff race. The East is wide open this season beyond the top three teams, so both teams have plenty to play for.

 

Let's break down both the Hawks and Hornets and find our favorite bets of the day.

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Atlanta Hawks: One of the Most Balanced Teams in the League

The Hawks have been winning more than not the last month thanks to a strong balanced attack. Atlanta is one of the steadier teams, ranked 13th on offense and 12th on defense. They're one of only seven teams in the NBA to be ranked inside the top 13 in both categories.

 

Atlanta is also a balanced team in terms of offensive preference. It is middling in both points in the paint and points from three-pointers. We won our last free pick, go take a look at our Spurs at 76ers betting preview.

 

This gives the Hawks flexibility against varying defenses. If one team is strong in one of the categories, Atlanta has shown a willingness to adapt.

 

Charlotte is a bottom 10 defense, meaning the Hawks are well-positioned to get points on the board.

 

The Hawks point leader is none other than Trae Young, averaging 25.2 points per game, tacking on 9.4 assists. The offense flows through the guard, with power forward John Collins playing the supporting role, averaging 18.2 points.

 

Atlanta has one of the best perimeter defenses in the NBA, ranking fourth in the league defending the three. It's a surprising strength, given center Clint Capela's presence in the paint. Capela sports your ideal stat line for a big: 14.2 rebounds and three blocks per game.

 

This season, Atlanta is 26-23-1 against the spread and 25-25 against overs.

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Charlotte Hornets: Loves the Three

The loss of rookie guard LaMelo Ball hurts this Hornets team, no doubt about it. Ball vs. Young would have made this one of the most compelling games of the weekend.

 

The Hornets offense has stayed afloat without him, thanks to the 1-2 punch of Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier. The Hornets don't quite have the consistency of Atlanta, coming in 17th on offense and 25th on defense.

 

NBA bettors know what Charlotte does well is shoot the three. The Hornets are seventh in the NBA in threes made per game, an impressive metric that keeps them in every game.

 

Rozier averages 20.4 points per game, shooting 41% from three. Hayward is right behind him, averaging 19.6 points on an identical 41% from deep, though he'll be sidelined for this game and the next few weeks with a foot sprain.

 

While the Hornets excel from deep, this Sunday match doesn't bode well for their strength. As we mentioned, only three teams defend the three better than Atlanta.

 

On the season, Charlotte is 27-21-1 ATS and 22-26-1 against overs.

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Game Pick

There's a clear advantage for Atlanta in this one. Their offense has a significant advantage over the weak Charlotte defense. As we just mentioned, the one Hornets strength is canceled out by a superior defensive strength of Atlanta.

 

The Hornets and Hawks have played twice this season, both back-to-back in early January. The Hornets won both, but that included their star rookie Ball. Without him and Hayward, this offense doesn't have the versatility to overpower a strong defense.

 

The pick is Atlanta to win and cover the spread.





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