2023 Atlanta Hawks Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert NBA Picks
The Atlanta Hawks finished 41-41 last season, which was good enough for a place in the play-in tournament. While the Hawks were able to secure their place in the postseason, a swift first round loss to the Celtics dashed any hopes of the team’s first championship in 65 years. Heading into the season, there is renewed optimism that Trae Young and the Hawks can repeat their 2021 run to the Eastern Conference Finals.
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The Hawks didn’t make any major splashes in the offseason trade market and have decided to run it back with virtually the same core as last season. Lou Williams hung up his shoes, but his reduced playtime in Atlanta won’t have much of an effect on their starting rotation. The lone move they made was acquiring Rudy Gay in exchange for John Collins, before flipping Gay for Patty Mills. Mills is coming to Atlanta from Brooklyn, after playing nearly a decade with the Spurs prior to that. The Hawks have a talented backcourt in Young and Dejounte Murray, but the two lack the ability to consistently knock down three’s, which is Mills’ specialty. It’s unlikely Mills will be thrust into the starting lineup, but the 35-year-old is still more than capable of spreading the floor and knocking down big shots. Collins will be missed, but he struggled to connect with his Hawks teammates during the conclusion of his Hawks era, so it may be a step in the right direction for the franchise.
While the Hawks acquired Saddiq Bey at the trade deadline last season, he was never really able to get acclimated in Atlanta as he struggled to get consistent minutes. The departure of Collins will see Bey go right into the power forward position, and the Villanova graduate will have ample opportunities to show he is deserving of a starting role.
The Hawks are stuck in a tough position. They finished in the Play in Tournament seeding before losing in the first round in back-to-back seasons. They are clearly not good enough to win a championship but are not ready to go through a rebuild either. A win total of 42.5 wins implies the Hawks are expected to be marginally better than last season, but it will once again likely be a first-round dropout. The addition of Murray last offseason was expected to be part of a fine duo with Young, but Murray was never able to really get going. When he was the star of the show in San Antonio, he put up 21.1 PPG, with 8.3 rebounds, 9.2 assists and 2.0 steals. The Hawks were licking their lips at his arrival, but his 20.5 PPG, 5.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.5 steals were all significantly lower than what they bargained for. If Murray can step up and consistently produce statlines from his Spurs career, this Hawks team rightfully held put in the offseason. Murray, Young, and Clint Capela create one of the more exhilarating trios in the league, but a competitive Eastern Conference leaves little to no margin for error.
The Hawks open up the season with nine of their first 14 games in the comfort of State Farm Arena, before playing 14 of their next 20 on the road. A hot start for the Hawks could signal to the league and their fanbase that the seasons of mediocrity are behind them, as their first 10 games include matchups against the Hornets, Wizards, Magic, and Pistons.
Atlanta Hawks Odds
The Hawks have their win total set at 42.5 wins, slightly higher than their 41, 43, and 41 win seasons over the last 3 years. Expecting too much of a jump for the Hawks is unlikely, as they are still +5000 for the No. 1 seed, which is the 7th best odds in the East. The consistent regular season mediocrity ensures ‘Hawks to make the Playoffs’ at -220 is a solid look, but sitting on a juiced future for the better part of seven months is far from ideal. For me, the Hawks are a great boom or bust team. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish 35-47, missing out on the Play in Tournament altogether, but I also wouldn’t be shocked to see Young and Murray come back to life, and lead this team to a 55-win season and a top 3 seed. A young core that is eager to win can do a lot in the NBA. And considering the injuries to Capela and Murray last season, if the Hawks can keep their core healthy, their improved 3-point shooting just might be enough to launch a deep playoff run.
In the In-Season Tournament, the Hawks are +450 to win their group, and +2000 to win the tournament. The Hawks are in a group featuring the 76ers and Cavaliers and will struggle to make it out of the group stage. I can’t see the Hawks catching fire at the right time to cash either of these bets, and there are much better plays on the board.
Assuming the -220 Hawks make the playoffs, their title dreams are once again expected to end quickly. They are +4500 to make the Finals and +7500 to lift the championship. Long odds for an unchanged team from last year’s first round exit makes sense.
2023-2024 Season Predictions
The Hawks have the potential to become an NBA champion, but they still lack the killer instinct needed to succeed. A kind schedule will allow them to go through intense hot and cold streaks throughout the year. However, when April rolls around, the Hawks will find themselves on the outside looking in. Young may have the flashy personality to succeed in the media, but his poor decision making on the court combined with a repeat of last year’s mediocre team has me ready to take the Under on 42.5 wins. The bottom half of the East is no longer a joke, and the easy teams the Hawks used to beat up on will have a little more fight back this season. A 38-44 record in my official prediction, as the injury concerns surrounding Murray and Capela are more than worrying. The duo hasn’t played their best basketball for almost two years, and Young will not be able to do it all on his own. While a 35-year-old Mills can still drain it from deep, he will have to be used sparingly, and Saddiq Bey still has plenty to prove in an Atlanta uniform. They’ll be fighting to qualify for the Play in Tournament, so while the Under 42.5 wins is my best bet, ‘Hawks to Miss the Playoffs’ at +175 is a solid look too.
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