Atlanta Hawks @ Charlotte Hornets
There are times when you look at a spread and can’t quite understand why the line is as it is. This is one of those lines, but I can’t see a reason not to back the Atlanta Hawks to cover it at the Charlotte Hornets, even if I feel a ‘square’ in thinking that way.
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There is no doubt that the Atlanta Hawks have been a streaky team this season and had a real slump in form at the end of December and early January. However, they have recorded two big wins since then while scoring at least 120 points in both and the Hawks might be set for another winning run with games against Milwaukee and Brooklyn to follow this one.
Atlanta can’t overlook Charlotte even if the Hornets have lost seven in a row and have been having a difficult time at both ends of the court to find the balance they need to be successful. The absence of Al Jefferson was always going to be a big blow, but the Hornets at least return home off a four game road trip that proved very difficult.
The revenge factor is in play for the Hornets but they are just 2-6-1 against the spread in their last nine games at home against Atlanta. The Hawks have been a solid road favourite being asked to cover three points or fewer and I think they are playing the better basketball so it is hard to ignore this game and I will back Atlanta to cover.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Atlanta Hawks -2.5 Points @ 1.85 with 888 Sport
Indiana Pacers @ Boston Celtics
Both teams were playing on Tuesday night, but there is little doubt the Indiana Pacers had the easier night in the office compared with the Boston Celtics. While Indiana were blowing out Phoenix, Boston were in another fourth quarter battle, this time against New York, where they ultimately came up short.
This has been a tough part of the season for the Celtics who were dropped back to 0.500 with their loss on Tuesday, their fourth in a row and sixth in seven games. The players have admitted their frustrations at getting so close to winning games, but failing to close them out and the Pacers will head to the TD Garden looking for their third win this season over Boston.
Indiana had begun to slow down themselves after a really positive start to the season but they have won four of their last six and the two losses in that time have both come with the Pacers blowing leads and falling in Overtime. The Pacers have been enjoying playing on the road against some of the better teams in the NBA, going 7-4 against the spread when playing a team with a winning record, and they will still respect Boston despite the latter’s struggles.
The spread is not a big one, but confidence certainly has to be on the Indiana side of the court. Maybe Boston will get it together considering they have played pretty well on the back to back, but they are just 9-9 against the spread as the home favourite of three points or fewer over the last couple of seasons and I think the underdog can make use of the points.
In fact the underdog is 7-1 against the spread in the last eight in the series between Indiana and Boston and I will look for the Pacers to extend that sequence.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Indiana Pacers +2.5 Points @ 1.87 with Pinnacle Sports
Prices correct at time of writing.