Atlanta Hawks vs Denver Nuggets

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Denver Nuggets host the Atlanta Hawks at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, Sunday night at 9 pm EST. The Nuggets are currently favored by 4.5-points while the total stands at 227-points, down from 228.5 at the opening

The Hawks were able to halt a 2-game skid Friday night as they were able to pick up a much-needed 16-point road win over the Golden State Warriors. Atlanta sprinted out to an 18-point halftime lead as their offense was sparked by a front-court in John Collins and Clint Capella, who each dominated in the paint posting double-doubles while Collins also nailed 4 of 5 treys. And while the Hawks gave up 50% shooting to Golden State, the road team made 55% of their shots while connecting on 13 3-pointers en route to their 23rd win of the year. The Hawks also ended a 2-game skid versus the number covering as 7-point favorites.

The Nuggets were able to atone for a 24-point road loss to the Toronto Raptors by taking out the New Orleans Pelicans on the road Friday night as they were able to overcome a rough start in the opening half to outscore the home team 59-45 in the final half. Nikola Jokic had a huge night on both ends of the floor posting 37 points and 9 boards (over 50% shooting) in addition to recording 2 steals and a block. On the other hand, Michael Porter, Jr. along with Jamal Murray chipped in 25 and 23 points, respectively, while accounting for half of the team’s 14 3-pointers. And despite going just 2-3 ATS in their last 5, the Nuggets covered for the 2nd time in 3 outings as 2.5-point favorites versus the Pelicans.

Atlanta has picked up outright wins in 3 of their last 4 meetings versus the Nuggets, including going 3-1 in their last 4 matchups at Ball Arena. The Hawks have also dominated against the number during this time racking up a 3-1 ATS during this time.

Hawks seeking to go over .500 on current road trip

After picking up a win over the Los Angeles Lakers to begin their 8-game road trip, the Hawks fell in their preceding 2 outings by an average of 5 points to the Los Angeles Clippers and the Sacramento Kings. However, they got back on track versus the Warriors as the offense posted 124-points as the team was able to remain in 2nd-place within the Southeast division, just a half-game behind the Charlotte Hornets. However, the team must continue to pick up victories as the Miami Heat are close behind only 1.5-games back.

Nonetheless, Atlanta seeks to go 3-2 on their current road trip as they continue to get huge outings from their front-court players in Collins, who has posted 28 points on average in his last 4 while recording 2 double-doubles during this time, along with Capela, who posted his 3rd-straight double-double versus the Warriors while recording 3 blocks. Of course, with leading scorer Trae Young, despite missing 5 of 6 shots from deep in the contest, continuing to post 20+ point night while getting his other teammates involved while Bojan Bogdanovich continues to improve his play, Atlanta seems to be peaking at the right moment.

Furthermore, the team not only possesses leadership at the reserve level with sharp-shooters Danillo Gallinari and Kevin Huerter providing solid minutes, the team will soon have former Clippers reserve guard Lou Williams in the lineup after being traded just before the deadline. Williams came back to the Hawks in place of point guard Rajon Rondo, who was only averaging 4 points per game along with 4 assists on the season.

Jokic comes up big again versus Pelicans

Big man Jokic has posted 28 points or more in 6 of his last 9 starts while recording double-doubles in 5 of these contests (3 triple-doubles). He had another stellar shooting performance versus the Pelicans making 17 of 30 of his shots from the floor along with 3 of 5 treys as the center came 4 boards and an assist shy of another triple-double. Murray, despite missing 4 of 6 attempts from deep, also shot well from the floor in the contest (10-18 FG) while dishing out 11 assists. Important to note that the inside-outside combo are both shooting over 40% from long-range on the season while making 48% of their shots or better.

The duo went a combined 16-35 FG along with 5-13 from long-range in the team’s last meeting versus the Hawks in February with Jokic ending with a double-double with 15 points, 10 boards, along with 6 dimes while Murray lit up the Hawks for 30 points in the 8-points loss. Michael Porter, Jr., who is coming off an efficient, 25-point night versus New Orleans, posted just 10 points in the loss despite the team boasting 6 double-digit scorers. Denver also converted on over 50% of their shots while hitting 16 treys, 4 alone by reserve Facundo Capazzo who finished with 16.

However, defense has been a vulnerability all season for the Nuggets as they also allowed 52% shooting to the Hawks along with 12 three’s, 4 from Young who lit them up for 35 points and 15 assists while going 11-13 from the free-throw line. Collins along with Capela each recorded double-doubles as well as Atlanta ended the game with 6 double-digit scorers as well.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

While each of these squads have been shaky against the spread in their last couple outings, it has been the Hawks that have been strong ATS in recent meetings versus the Nuggets.  The size and athleticism of Collins and Capela have really limited the scoring capabilities of Jokic.  Of course, with the Hawks being such a potent offensive team, one can expect the road team to keep this game tight to the end while possibly winning outright.

Atlanta Hawks +4.5

Want another opinion on this pick?


Full-Game Total Pick

With the way the Nuggets have played defense throughout the season, I like the over in this matchup.  Besides, it has been the play in 3 of the last 4 meetings versus these teams while being 5-2 in the last 7 roadies for the Hawks (3-1 in last 4 home games for Nuggets).  Important to add that the Hawks are averaging 122 points in their last 3 meetings compared to 119 for Denver.  In addition, to this, the Nuggets may add some additional fire-power as they intend to introduce newly-acquired former Orlando Magic guard Aaron Gordon to the lineup after being traded earlier in the week.

Over 227