Hawks vs. Pelicans Preview: How To Fade New Orleans At Home

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Hawks vs. Pelicans Odds

Hawks Odds -6
Pelicans Odds +6
Over/Under 220
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The 2-1 Atlanta Hawks embark on a three-game road trip that starts against the 1-3 New Orleans Pelicans. Atlanta’s first road game of the season didn’t go as planned, as it lost as -8.5 favorites to the Cavaliers 101-95.

The Pelicans weren’t much better in their season opener, as they got blitzed by the Philadelphia 76ers by 20 points. They were tied at halftime but then allowed 76ers forward Forkan Korkmaz to bury four 3-pointers in a two-minute span early in the fourth quarter to propel Philadelphia to victory.

Let’s find out where the the best bet to put our money is in the matchup.

Atlanta’s Defense Makes Up For Injuries

DeAndre Hunter was out last game due to a non-COVID illness, but he traveled and is expected to play. Danilo Gallinari, meanwhile, is still listed as questionable, but he has yet to make an appearance this season. Lou Williams is also questionable due to an ankle injury.

That’s definitely some notable injury news, but this Hawks team is one of the deepest and most talented in the league. Cam Reddish has helped pick up the slack off the bench, averaging 18.7 points per game that rank second on the team.

So far this season, the Hawks are 2-1 against the spread (ATS) and have hit the under in two out of their first three games. They have been outstanding defensively, trailing only the Jazz and Heat in Defensive Rating entering play on Tuesday night. Atlanta’s defense should be able to suffocate the Pelicans, who rank 26th in Offensive Rating.

With Clint Capela basically off of his minutes limit, this Hawks defense will get even better. Capela is second among all centers this season in Defensive Real Plus Minus, while big man John Collins ranks sixth among all power forwards. This duo allowed the fourth-fewest defensive rebounds per game last season.

Trae Young leads the way in points and assists, which is no surprise since he has led the Hawks in assists since entering the league. The Pelicans have allowed opponents to shoot 38.3% from downtown so far this season, so Young could absolutely feast on that number if his shot is falling early.

I expect the Hawks to get the bad taste of that Cavaliers game out of their mouth today and stifle the Pelicans offense tonight. So does the majority of bettors, with the Hawks getting 70% of the public bets as of Tuesday night.

Pelicans Getting By Without Zion

After a three-game road trip, the New Orleans Pelicans return home, where they went 18-18 last season.

The 1-3 Pelicans are trying to stay afloat until Zion Williamson is back from a foot injury, from which he still has no timetable on when he will return. The Pelicans went 2-9 without Williamson last season. They went 5-6 ATS and hit the over in 55% of their games. So far this season, the Pelicans are 2-2 ATS and have hit the under in three out of their first four games.

New Orleans has been an extremely concentrated lineup without Williamson. Jonas Valanciunas, Brandon Ingram, Devonte’ Graham and Nickeil Alexander-Walker have scored over 78% of the teams points so far this season.

After being tied down for most of his career with the Raptors and Grizzlies, Valanciunas seems to be headed in a new direction this year with the Pelicans in his 11th season. In the first 10 years of his career, Valanciunas averaged 25.4 minutes per game. This year with the Pelicans, he is averaging 34.5 minutes and has been absolutely dominant, especially on the glass.

Valanciunas is averaging a monstrous 15.0 rebounds per game to go along with 17.3 points. I’m sure he is still adjusting to the heavy minutes workload, and that may have an effect on his 40.1% field goal percentage.

Valanciunas will sure have his hands full with Capela, Collins and even Gorgui Dieng on Wednesday night. They are some of the best best defensive big men in the league. The Hawks are also fourth in the league in so far in Rebounding Percentage.

Ingram leads the Pelicans in usage rate this season with 31.1%. He is averaging a career-high in both points (27.0) and rebounds (7.5) while shooting 50% from the field and 50% from 3-point range. The Hawks have plenty of bodies to throw at Ingram to make it tough for him on the outside, as well as the aforementioned big men when he gets into the paint.

Hawks-Pelicans Pick

I was intrigued by the spread and even the under, but didn’t have a strong enough lean either way. However, I feel like the best bet is to take the Pelicans to score under their team total of 107 points.

New Orleans only scored over 107 points in one game this season, and it hasn’t faced a defense like what the Hawks have.

I do think the Hawks win, but I fear a late backdoor from the Pelicans. I like the under of 220, but I could see the Hawks getting scorching hot from deep which could ruin that.

So let’s focus on New Orleans and fade the Pelicans.

Pick: Pelicans Team Total — Under 107 (play to 105)