Raptors at Hawks Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 4/16/2013
It's my final NBA free picks article of the 2012-13 regular season, which seemed to fly by. Hopefully I made you a bit of money as I did finish solidly above .500 for the year. Of course, I will continue on through the playoffs.
It's rather unfortunate my final story has to be on the Atlanta Hawks, only because they are so infuriatingly inconsistent. They can beat any team on a certain night and are just as capable of losing to a bad team on any night (and often do). You can bet few teams will look more different than the Hawks next season. They will have tons of cap room, presuming they don't re-sign unrestricted free agent Josh Smith. GM Danny Ferry is hoping he can lure Dwight Howard back to his hometown. He and Smith are tight, so it's possible the Hawks do bring Smith back to lure Howard. Whether Coach Larry Drew returns likely depends on what the Hawks do in the playoffs.
I think the Toronto Raptors are going to be a playoff team next season. They have some nice pieces in Jonas Valanciunas, Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. It's highly likely they trade former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani. The Raptors will really be hoping those ping-pong balls bounce their way in the lottery. Toronto keeps its first-round pick only if it's in the top three. Otherwise it goes to Oklahoma City via Houston. The Raptors dealt the pick to the Rockets for Lowry, and then the Rockets sent it out in the James Harden trade.
Raptors at Hawks Betting Story Lines
Atlanta could clinch the No. 5 seed and a date with Brooklyn in the playoffs as early as Tuesday night, depending on what the Chicago Bulls did on Monday. The Hawks lead the Bulls by a game entering the week. Chicago holds the tiebreaker by taking two of three in the regular season. The Hawks split four games with the Nets, and I'm confident in saying they'd much rather face Brooklyn than No. 3 Indiana, which is arguably the best defensive team in the NBA and leads the league in rebounding.
The Hawks have followed a three-game losing streak with wins over the Sixers and Bucks. Some sort of switch was flipped as Atlanta scored 124 and 109 points in those two games. It's the team's highest-scoring two-game stretch of the year. The Hawks trailed Milwaukee by 19 early in the second half Friday in their last game before rallying for a five-point victory. Smith led Atlanta to their first season sweep of Milwaukee in 16 years with 24 points.
Toronto has won three straight and five of six. It has never been called a good defensive team, but in those five wins the Raptors have held their opponents under 45 percent shooting and to less than 100 points. DeRozan had 36 (one shy of his career high) and Gay 26 points and 10 boards in the Raptors' wire-to-wire 93-87 home win over Brooklyn on Sunday. That duo is averaging 41.4 points in April. Valanciunas missed his second straight game with a neck injury, and he's probably out Tuesday. The Lithuanian rookie is averaging 8.7 points and 6.0 rebounds this year. The Raptors believe he'll be a star, and he was the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for March.
Atlanta has won both meetings with the Raptors this year. On Jan. 30 at Philips Arena, the Hawks won 93-92 as seven-point favorites. Al Horford's go-ahead dunk with 21 seconds remaining was the difference, and he then blocked two shots on the other end. That was the day the Raptors acquired Gay from Memphis. On March 27 in Toronto, the Hawks won 107-88 as 2.5-point favorites. Horford had 26 points and 12 boards while Jeff Teague finished with 24 points and 13 assists. He has 10 20-point, 10-assist games this season, the third most by a player in Hawks history. Teague will be a restricted free agent this summer. That most recent win over Toronto clinched a playoff spot for Atlanta and was its 13th victory in the past 15 meetings overall vs. the Raptors.
Raptors at Hawks NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the Hawks are 5.5-point opening favorites with the total at 196.5. The Raptors are 39-40-1 ATS (19-20-1 on road) and 40-40 “over/under” (24-16 on road). The Hawks are 37-41-2 ATS (14-24-2 at home) and 41-38-1 O/U (21-19 at home).
The Raptors are 5-1 ATS in their past six games overall. They are 3-7 ATS in their past 10 games vs. teams with a winning record. Toronto is 1-4 ATS in its past five road games vs. teams with a winning home record. The Hawks are 12-3 ATS in their past 15 after allowing at least 100 points in their previous game. Atlanta is 1-6 ATS in its past seven Tuesday game and 0-6 ATS in its past six at home. The under is 4-0 in Toronto's past four after a win. The under is 6-1 in the Hawks' past seven at home. Toronto is 4-1 in the past five in Atlanta.
Raptors at Hawks Picks and Betting Predictions
The Raptors are looking for their first back-to-back road wins since mid-February. However, I think the Hawks will be amply motivated to win here, both to potentially clinch No. 5 and because it's their regular-season home finale. I'm sure Drew would like to rest his stars for Wednesday night's game at the Knicks if at all possible. Take Atlanta and the under.
Doc’s Sports is offering $60 worth of member’s picks absolutely free – no obligation, no sales people – you don’t even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please on any of our top NBA handicappers. Click here for more details and take advantage of this free $60 picks credit today.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Get all of Today's NBA Picks
Get all of Today's Guaranteed Expert NBA Picks