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Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics

Atlanta Hawks vs Boston Celtics Free NBA Pick

Atlanta Hawks (7-27) at Boston Celtics (23-8)

NBA: Friday, January 3rd, 2020 at 7:00 pm ET (TD Garden)

Line and Odds: Boston Celtics -10.5 Over/Under: 223.5

Free ESPN NBA Picks Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta

This year has certainly been a struggle for the Atlanta Hawks. They are currently 15th out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference standings. Atlanta is 18 games back of the division-leading Miami Heat in the Southeast Division. They are 8 games behind the Orlando Magic for the last playoff position in the Eastern Conference. Their record of 7-27 is the worst mark of any team in the NBA. Atlanta has the 2nd youngest roster in the NBA, and their results have put their youth on display. The 8 Hawks players with the highest total of minutes played are age 26 or younger, with 6 of them being 24 or younger. The best player on the Atlanta Hawks is guard Trae Young. He leads the team in both points and assists. Young averages 28.5 points and 8.3 assists per game. He ranks top 5 in the entire league in scoring per game, assists per game, and usage percentage. He ranks 14th in PER, with a Player Efficiency Rating of 23.2.

The Atlanta Hawks rank 30th out of 30 teams in net rating, getting outscored by 10.0 points per 100 possessions. Despite the presence of Trae Young, Atlanta’s offensive rating also resides at the bottom of the league. The Hawks score just 103.1 points per 100 possessions. They shoot for an effective field goal percentage of 50.4%, ranking them 25th in eFG%. They are actually 9th in 2-point shooting percentage (52.4%) this year. Atlanta is just extremely poor at 3-point shooting, ranking 30th in the NBA. They hit just 31.5% of their 3-point attempts. Atlanta’s offense is the sloppiest in the NBA, ranking 30th in offensive turnover percentage. They turn the ball over on 14.8% of their offensive plays. Atlanta ranks 25th in offensive rebound percentage, grabbing 21.4% of the offensive rebounds available to them.

Atlanta ranks 28th in defensive rating, giving up 113.1 points per 100 possessions. They rank 25th in effective field goal defense, allowing teams to shoot an eFG% of 54.4% against them. Atlanta ranks last in defensive rebound percentage, grabbing just 74.3% of the defensive rebounds available to them. They give up 24.6 free throw attempts per 100 possessions, a number that ranks them 24th in that statistical category. Atlanta’s defense does know how to force turnovers at a fairly high rate. They rank 8th in defensive turnover percentage, creating turnovers on 13.9% of their offensive plays.

Boston

Coach Brad Stevens has, once again, gotten the most out of his Boston Celtics squad. In the lead-up to the season, most Eastern Conference observers had their eyes set on the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers. However, the Celtics have shown that they are definitely a contender to come out of the East this year. The Celtics have a 23-8 record through 31 games. They have the 2nd-best record in the Eastern Conference, behind the 31-5 Milwaukee Bucks. While they are currently listed as the #2 team in the East based on winning percentage, they also trail the Miami Heat who are a half-game ahead of them in terms of wins and losses. Boston leads the Atlantic Division by 2 games over the 23-12 Toronto Raptors. They have the 3rd best winning percentage in the NBA, behind only the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. Boston has a well balanced team with 4 players (Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Gordon Hayward) are averaging at least 15 points a game.

The Boston Celtics rank 2nd in net rating, outscoring opponents by 8.0 points per 100 possessions. The Celtics have achieved this high net rating, not by being extraordinary at any one facet of the game, but being solid in all aspects. Boston ranks 4th in offensive rating, scoring 112.1 points per 100 possessions. They are 10th in effective field goal percentage, shooting for an eFG% of 52.7%. The Celtics are 7th in offensive turnover percentage, giving the ball away on just 12.2% of their offensive plays. Boston also ranks 7th in offensive rebound percentage, grabbing 23.9% of the offensive rebounds available to them. They hit 17.5 free throws per 100 possessions, ranking them 12th in that statistic.

Like their offense, their defense is solid in all phases of the game. Boston ranks 3rd in defensive rating, allowing 104.3 points per 100 possessions. They are 8th in effective field goal defense, forcing teams to shoot an eFG% of 50.4%. Boston is 4th in defensive turnover percentage, creating takeaways on 14.2% of their opponents’ offensive plays. The Celtics are 14th in defensive rebound percentage, grabbing 77.2% of the defensive rebounds available to them. They do everything well defensively, so it becomes difficult for opponents to find weaknesses to exploit.

Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends

Hawks

The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Atlanta’s last 9 games.

Atlanta is 1-10 SU in their last 11 games.

Atlanta is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games against Boston.

Celtics

Boston is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games.

The total has gone OVER in 7 of Boston’s last 9 games against Atlanta.

Boston is 13-2 SU in their last 15 games at home.

ESPN NBA Scores Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics

I’m taking the Boston Celtics -10.5 in this matchup. To me, this feels like the oddsmakers are overreacting to the absence of Kemba Walker (illness). While it’s true that Kemba is their leading scorer, I don’t believe that one player’s absence will do significant damage to this team’s prospects. The Celtics have a lot of depth on their roster and they have a head coach who is masterful at doing more with less. The Celtics will put more than enough talent on the floor to beat the Hawks by over 10 points. Atlanta simply doesn’t have a lot going for them at the moment. They have an elite offensive point guard, and yet their offense is horrible. Their defense is slightly better, but it’s still way below average. All put together, Atlanta is the worst team in the NBA. A team of Boston’s caliber should blow out a team like Atlanta on its home floor, even without Kemba. I’ll take the Boston Celtics and lay the big number.

Boston Celtics -10.5

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