Atlanta Hawks vs. Dallas Mavericks: NBA Expert Handicapper Pick
(30-17, 22-25 ATS)
(30-15, 22-21-2 ATS)
Atlanta had been playing a lot of games without Marvin Williams due to injury of late. Now, they’re likely to end up playing without him due to suspension. Last night, Williams was ejected for fighting with New York Knicks’ Shawne Williams. Both players are likely to have their punishment handed down before this evening’s clashes. That’s going to take a team that is already thin and make it even thinner. The good news though, is that there are four players on this squad that are averaging at least 16 points per game, more than any other team in the league. But beyond these four and Mike Bibby, there isn’t another player on the roster averaging even 18 minutes, or even 5.0 points per game. Joe Johnson has been on fire of late, making up for a relatively slow start to the campaign. He is now averaging 19.9 points per game this year after putting up 34 with seven assists and eight boards in the win against the Knicks. The Hawks are tied for second place in the Southeast Division with the Orlando Magic coming into Saturday night.
Dallas has been absolutely atrocious from an NBA betting standpoint, as it is just 2-9 ATS in its last 11 games since originally losing Dirk Nowitzki to a knee injury. The good news is that Dirk is back and the team is winning again, but covers are still awfully hard to come by. This is the third game on a four game home stand that should produce a ton of wins for the Mavs. After this though, the road gets significantly tougher with an East Coast swing starting in February. Nowitzki really hasn’t played up to his potential since returning, as he only has one game with more than 23 points scored since that knee injury forced him out of the lineup. Still, he is averaging 231 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and really needs to return to form to help his team make a run at the NBA Finals this year. It’s been great to see this team score 111 and 112 points over the course of the last two games, because the offense in general for Dallas has absolutely stunk. The team ranks No. 23 in the league at just 97.0 points per game this year, something that was really considered impossible at the outset of the season with all of the star power available.
Dallas should get back in the fold on Saturday night. The Hawks are coming off of that gritty game against the Knicks, and if Williams really does get suspended for this one, there shouldn’t be enough depth to come on the road and win for a second straight night, especially here in Dallas.
NBA Free Pick: Dallas Mavericks -5
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