ATLANTA HAWKS (23-14)
at UTAH JAZZ (24-11)
Tip-off: Wednesday, 9:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Utah -6, Total: 190
Atlanta looks to win three in a row (SU and ATS) in its final contest of a four-game road trip as it faces Utah for a second and final time during the regular season. Utah also has a two-game winning streak of its own, but it has failed to cover the spread in the past three games, the most recent two being at home. Las Vegas odds.
The Hawks held on to a 108-102 win over the Kings Tuesday night after letting go of a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter. Atlanta shot an excellent 51.3% and held Sacramento to 44.8% shooting. Joe Johnson, who was shooting 38% in the previous nine games (after missing nine after elbow surgery), scored 29 points on 12-of-18 FG.
Atlanta is playing well offensively and has won four of its past five games, averaging 101.4 points on 49.0% shooting. The Hawks have been impressive in back-to-back games this year, going 8-3 SU (6-5 ATS) and have been decent on the road with an 11-9 mark (SU and ATS).
Meanwhile, Utah has been mediocre in the past five contests, winning only three SU and failing to cover the spread four times. Its offense has been lacking and is only averaging 96.6 PPG on 46.9% shooting in those five contests. The Jazz won most recently on Monday, 102-97 over Detroit, but failed to cover the spread. Their home record now sits at 13-6 SU and 9-10 ATS.
The Jazz won the first meeting in Atlanta, 90-86, on Nov. 12, but the Hawks won the previous game in Utah on Feb. 22, 105-100, utilizing injuries that sidelined Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko and snapping a 15-game skid at Utah.
Utah’s second leading scorer and rebounder, Paul Millsap (17.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG), may miss this contest after sitting out Tuesday’s practice with a bruised hip. Jazz C Mehmet Okur (13 points in last game) is likely to miss his fourth straight game with a back injury, and Hawks F Marvin Williams (11.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG) has also missed three straight games because of a lower back contusion. With Utah’s recent inconsistent play and the Hawks playing well on zero days of rest, I pick Atlanta to win.
These two FoxSheets trends also like underdog Atlanta to pull off the upset.
Play Against – Favorites of 3.5 to 9.5 points (UTAH) – a good offensive team (98-102 PPG) against an average defensive team (92-98 PPG), after 2 straight wins by 6 points or less. (33-11 since 1996.) (75%, +20.9 units. Rating = 2*). Vegas odds.
ATLANTA is 41-24 ATS (63.1%, +14.6 Units) after playing 2 consecutive games as favorite over the last 2 seasons. The average score was ATLANTA 99.9, OPPONENT 95.5 – (Rating = 1*).
The FoxSheets also like the final score to finish Over the total:
Play Over – Road teams where the total is between 180 and 189.5 points (MILWAUKEE) – after one or more consecutive overs, a poor offensive team (88-92 PPG) against an average defensive team (92-98 PPG). (34-10 over the last 5 seasons.) (77.3%, +23 units. Rating = 3*).