Game: Atlanta Hawks at New Orleans Pelicans
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Hawks -240, Pelicans +205
The Hawks, who are off to a 2-1 start in the new season, travel to New Orleans to take on a struggling Pelicans team tonight at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans just got their first win of the season on Monday when they beat Minnesota 107-98. Part of the problem for New Orleans is having to navigate this early part of the season without star Zion Williamson. He’s out indefinitely and that leaves the Pelicans with just one player from last year that averaged more than 11 points a game.
That player just happens to be Brandon Ingram, who is picking up some of the slack left by Williamson’s absence. Ingram is averaging 27 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. Devonte Graham, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Jonas Valanciunas all average at least 17 points a game, but no other player is scoring more than 5.8. That’s the bigger problem for New Orleans – a lack of quality depth.
The Hawks have one of the NBA’s rising stars in point guard Trae Young. He has started the new season strong averaging 25 points and 10 assists per game. Seven other Hawks average at least eight points a game and the duo of Clint Capela and John Collins are pulling down a combined 21 rebounds per game. Cam Reddish averages 18.7 points for a Hawks team that has bigger playoff aspirations than last year. Atlanta has the roster do it this year too.
The difference tonight will come down to Atlanta’s depth compared to that of New Orleans. The Hawks second unit is simply more productive than that of the Pelicans. The first quarter should be close. Whether or not New Orleans can cover the 6-point spread will come down to its performance later in the game, especially the performance of its bench players.
Bettors should expect a faster-paced game. Both Atlanta and New Orleans rank in the top 15 in pace. The Hawks are just 15th in the league in scoring (110.0) and New Orleans comes in at No. 26 scoring 101.2 points per game. That is reflected in tonight’s game total which is set at 219.
Without Williamson, the Pelicans offense has been challenged as has New Orleans defense. Atlanta ranks 10th in the league in offensive efficiency which may affect tonight’s total. Both teams have trended toward the Under going back to the last part of last season. The total has gone Under in nine of Atlanta’s last 13 games.
For New Orleans, the total has gone Under in four of its last five games including each of the last two. The Under is also the trend in the series between the Hawks and Pelicans. In the last nine Atlanta-New Orleans games, the Under has cashed in six times and the Under is a perfect 6-0 in the last six Pelicans home games.