On the heels of a 60-win season, the Atlanta Hawks are now speeding toward a disappointing finish and rank as one of the more fickle NBA bets. They are still good—borderline Eastern Conference contenders, even. But while their defense has improved, their offensive efficiency has plummeted, and it's left them susceptible to losses they wouldn't have suffered last year, when their passing and shooting were on superior planes.
There is still money to be made when betting on the Hawks. They are visibly better than most of the East, and they are fully capable of covering spreads against those clearly inferior opponents.
Just don't bet with the haphazard frequency you might have roughly one year ago. You'll most definitely get burned if you do. The Hawks miss DeMarre Carroll, and they have lost Tiago Splitter for the long haul. Al Horford and Paul Millsap will keep them relevant, and that makes them a team to monitor as they near the playoffs, but this Atlanta squad is no longer a big-time bettor's delight.
Pick your spots. Bet on the Hawks only when they're playing a certain kind of team—an inferior team. And if they don't end up snaring a top six playoff seed, they won't be worth your time or money during the first round of the playoffs.
Atlanta Hawks Next Regular Season Game
Have a look at the Hawks' next opponent. Pay special attention to the spreads, as the Hawks' lines are based more on their opponents' success—or lackthereof—than anything.
Also, in recent months, the under has become a rather strong play in any contest in which Atlanta is involved. The Hawks' defense is super stingy, and when they combat other teams with top notch defenses and below average offenses, the combined scores are seldom up to snuff.
Stay prepared by looking at the Hawks' entire schedule. Study future opponents. Look for potential sure things. Uncover any possible red flags and trap games.
Lines aren't released too far in advance, so you won't be able to concoct any specific bets more than a couple nights in advance, but having an outline will make placing your wager on game day a hell of a lot easier.
What Are The Current Atlanta Hawks Standings
If you have any intention of investing in the Hawks' playoff run, keep up with their standings. Their first-round playoff opponent will set the tone for their entire postseason push.
If they miss out on home-court advantage, they become an exponentially less attractive play. If they get stuck facing the Cleveland Cavaliers or Toronto Raptors in the first round, you won't want to touch them with a 10 foot pole. But if they grab home-court advantage, or if they are matched up with one of their fellow mediocre teams, they at minimum earn your postseason betting consideration.
Avoid Betting Hawks Futures
Resist any urge you might have to throw some money on Hawks futures. They remain Eastern Conference threats, but there is too much uncertainty surrounding their immediate and long term future to justify playing the championship and conference futures game.
Immediately, the Hawks have been journeying up and down the East's standings. They could grind out another Eastern Conference Finals appearance, increasing the chance of them earning a shocking NBA Finals bid. But they have been inconsistent enough to suggest they're also risks to exit in the first round of the postseason.
Looking ahead, they have a lot riding on free agency. They almost broke up the band at the trade deadline, and there's a strong possibility they actually take a stick of dynamite to the core over the offseason.
Kent Bazemore and Horford are free agents this summer, and both could price themselves out of Atlanta's range. Jeff Teague will be entering the last year of his deal and be prime trade bait. A first or second round playoff exodus could also incite a desire to rebuild, while the Golden State Warriors and Cavaliers let their title windows expire, in which case not even Millsap would be off limits in trade talks.
Conference and championship bets at this point are big no-nos. Feel free to wager on win total overs and unders later in the offseason, when the roster is set. But even that's an unnecessary risk these days, because if the Hawks underachieve next season, as they are this season, they're threats to blow up whatever is left of their nucleus at the trade deadline, thus negating the validity of those offseason win projections.