Nuggets vs. Hawks Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Both the Nuggets and the Hawks are 14-14 and sit a bit lower in the standings than they had hoped at this point in the season. The Nuggets have been ravaged by injuries while the Hawks have simply underperformed based on their expectations.
Can we back either team with confidence in this Friday night matchup? Let’s break it down.
The Nuggets already are missing a few players, Austin Rivers is probable due to Health and Safety protocols and Markus Howard suffered a left knee injury on Wednesday and is listed as day-to-day.
Despite the barrage of injuries, the Nuggets have survived on the shoulders of the reigning MVP, Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets have an absolutely preposterous point differential with Jokic on the floor (+31.1) across 32.7 minutes per game, which makes their -1.0 overall point differential even more absurd, per Cleaning the Glass.
They simply have no depth beyond Jokic, and while they are still able to score, their defense allows 111.1 points per 100 possessions, 21st in the league. The Nuggets’ projected starting lineup with Monte Morris and Will Barton is fine, but with Bones Hyland and Facu Campazzo filling in behind them, they may struggle to contain Trae Young and the Atlanta backcourt.
Although the Hawks continue to play without De’Andre Hunter, they’ve managed to stay afloat in the East. They also are listing Onyeka Okongwu (shoulder, personal) as a game-time decision for this matchup.
Atlanta’s defense has not done them any favors this season, as they have the 23rd-ranked defense and allow 111.4 points per 100 possessions. However, their offense has been excellent and they have scored 114.0 points per 100 possessions, the third-best in the NBA.
Trae Young has been on a roll of late and has scored at least 25 points in 11 consecutive games while crossing the 30-point threshold in seven of them. Keep an eye out for his points prop in this matchup. He’s the engine to this offense that has an eFG% of 53.8% in large part due to their team shooting 38.8% from 3-point range.
When the Hawks played the Nuggets back in November, they shot well below this mark and made just 5/28 from 3 (17.9%). I don’t expect that to continue considering Denver is allowing opponents to shoot 38.0% from 3-point range in December, 21st in the league.
When these two teams met about a month ago, both teams had a different group of players that are now out due to injury (Hunter, Bogdanovic, PJ Dozier, Rivers and JaMychal Green to name a few).
However, the big difference with that game was the 3-point shooting. The Hawks had their worst 3-point shooting game of the entire season in that matchup when they could not buy a bucket. When these teams played last season, the Hawks shot 35.3% and 40.7% from 3-point range, so I expect this to regress to the mean.
Denver has Jokic, but the Hawks arguably have the next five best players on the court. This is demonstrated through their superior Net Rating, and I’ll back the Hawks at home in this matchup.
Pick: Hawks -4