Hawks vs. 76ers Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via Parx. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
On Saturday night, two Eastern Conference powerhouses collide as the Philadelphia 76ers host the Atlanta Hawks in a rematch from their seven-game semifinal this past postseason.
In case you’ve forgotten, the Atlanta Hawks had an amazing underdog story, finishing the regular season as the No. 5 seed. They made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals after defeating the No. 1 seed 76ers in seven games. Ben Simmons infamously disappeared from this series and went an unfathomable 15 for 45 (33.3%) from the free-throw line.
Less than two weeks into the season, the Sixers’ injury report is already in midseason form. Joel Embiid is listed as questionable with right knee soreness. I do not anticipate he will miss a game against such a crucial opponent, but keep your eyes out for any updates by following the @FantasyLabsNBA Twitter account.
The 76ers and the raucous Philly fans will be seeking revenge against Young and the Hawks for that heartbreaking elimination. Can the Hawks pull another upset?
Hawks’ Trae Young Affected by Rule Changes
Young was one of the league’s breakout stars during last season’s playoff run. He relished in his role as a “villain” and dominated with his clutch performances. The Hawks are expected to make a huge leap forward this year, but they have begun this season with a mixed bag.
They currently have a 3-2 record with two losses against the Cavaliers and Wizards, both projected in the bottom half of the conference.
As I’ve mentioned in previous previews, the NBA is implementing rule changes to prevent “non-basketball moves” in an effort to draw fouls. Young’s offensive arsenal of weapons included hunting to draw shooting fouls. This has worked to his detriment this season, as he is only averaging 4.4 free throw attempts per game, down from 8.7 and 9.3 in the previous two season. Other players like James Harden and Luka Doncic have seen a similar dip in their numbers as they adjust to the new rules.
The Hawks have made strides on defense this season. They were 18th in Defensive Rating last season and have improved to seventh in the league in Defensive Rating (102.6) going into Saturday’s games, per NBA Advanced Stats.
John Collins has started this season off well, showing that he deserves the five-year, $125 million dollar contract he signed this past offseason. He is averaging 24.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG and 1.2 SPG.
Not only is he throwing down lobs and getting boards, he leads the team in Defensive Box Plus/Minus (2.2), per Basketball Reference. The Hawks will need their twin tower duo of Collins and Clint Capela to be at their best to help shut Joel Embiid down.
76ers Offense Due for Some Regression?
Ben Simmons had quite an eventful and dramatic summer. After his disappearing act in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, he demanded a trade in the offseason. Then, he refused to show up for training camp, arrived shortly before the season started and is currently not suiting up for any of their games.
Without their point guard, the 76ers offense is still rocking and rolling, ranking second in Offensive Rating (113.4) and first in Effective Field Goal percentage, per NBA Advanced Stats. The 76ers have done a much better job surrounding Embiid with excellent shooters — Seth Curry, Shake Milton, Georges Niang.
They are shooting 41% from behind the arc this season, which is the best in the league. However, I think they could be due for some regression in that area. Furthermore, the Hawks are excellent at defending the 3-pointer. They are fourth in opponent’s 3-point percentage allowed and ninth in opponent’s 3-point rate, consistent with their metrics last season.
The Sixers are amazing at home. Since the 2016-2017 season, they are an incredible 114-75-2 (60.3%) against the spread in Philly, per our Bet Labs tool. They have among the best home court advantages in the league and have consistently delivered. However, they have gone 0-2 ATS this season.
The 76ers will look to avenge their playoff elimination against the Hawks. They are currently 3.5-point favorites at home. I think the Hawks match up extremely well against the 76ers. They neutralize some of their strengths by defending the 3-pointer well and they have two big men they can use to guard Embiid.
Instead, I am looking at the total as I think this has the potential to go under. Atlanta is 23rd in Pace (100.1) and Philadelphia is dead-last (97.1) in the league. These teams keep the pace slow and rely on their half-court offense.
Playoff rematches early in the season (game No. 8 or earlier) have gone 24-13 (64.9%) to the under since 2015, per my personal database based off the Sports Data Query Language. These teams have a stronger familiarity with one another having gone through a grueling playoff series and tend to play harder on defense, which leads to a tendency to go under.
In 10 matchups last season (including the playoffs), their games went 7-3 to the under by an average margin of 4.2 points. The total has opened up at 218.5. I make the fair total on this game 216 so I would play the under on this total down to 217.
Pick: Under 218.5 (down to 217)