76ers vs. Hawks NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Expect Elite Defense
AP Photo. Pictured: Joel Embiid
- The 76ers travel to Atlanta for an Eastern Conference clash on Thursday night.
- Both of these teams have been playing solid defense this season, so our analyst is looking toward the under.
- Jacob McKenna digs into the matchup and offers up his best bet below.
76ers vs. Hawks Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Philadelphia 76ers travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks in a one-game road trip.
The 2022-23 season has gotten off to a rocky start for the 76ers, who enter this matchup with 5-6 record and are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Hawks look like they can suddenly compete for one of the top spots in the East as they are in fourth place in the conference.
The Hawks appear to have several advantages in this matchup, but this will be the second game in two nights for Atlanta as it faced the Jazz on Wednesday.
Not everything has gone to plan for the 76ers, largely because key players have missed time.
James Harden (injury) is set to miss the next month or so, which is a large blow to an offense that is scoring the sixth fewest points per game (108.9). Prior to Harden’s absence, the 76ers owned an Offensive Rating of 115.3, which ranked seventh in the NBA. However, in the two games without him, Philadelphia’s Offensive Rating has dipped to just 104.6. That should come as no surprise as Harden is Philadelphia’s best play maker.
In addition, Joel Embiid missed three games due to illness, a stretch in which the 76ers went 1-2. However, Embiid appears to not have skipped a beat, as he put up 33 points in his first game back, a victory over Phoenix on Monday. With Embiid back on the floor, Philadelphia once again becomes a force that is tough to stop.
Philadelphia was just 3-4 with Embiid on the floor before he missed time, but in that time frame, the 76ers owned the 10th best Offensive Rating in the NBA (114.7). That was largely due to the fact that they were one of the more efficient teams, shooting 48.0% from the floor and 38.3% from behind the arc.
In addition, the 76ers played some stifling defense with Embiid on the floor, allowing opponents to score just 41.4 points per game in the paint and shoot 33% from behind the arc.
With De’Anthony Melton, PJ Tucker and Matisse Thybulle holding down the perimeter, Philadelphia was already a tough defense to crack. Now that Embiid is back in the middle, the 76ers can stop just about anyone from scoring and simultaneously create separation on the offensive end.
After making the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021, the Atlanta Hawks nearly missed the playoffs in 2022. However, the Hawks appear to have fixed some of their shortcomings and have come out of the gates hot.
Perhaps the biggest difference to this team is the addition of Dejounte Murray. He has done more than Atlanta could have imagined, entering this matchup averaging 22.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 8.4 assists and 2.5 steals per game.
Clearly, Murray has brought an entirely new dynamic to this team on both ends. However, it is becoming more and more clear that his impact is being felt far more on the defensive end of the floor.
Atlanta finished last season as one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA, posting the fifth worst Defensive Rating at 113.7. However, the Hawks have improved on that mark quite a bit and enter this matchup with a Defensive Rating of 110.8. They’ve also see that rating improve to 100.6 in their past three games.
In addition, the Hawks rank eighth in opponent field-goal percentage, holding opponents to 45.8% shooting from the floor. That is an improvement from a 46.9% mark a season ago. Additionally, the Hawks have only allowed their opponents to shoot 32.6% from three this season.
Both Philadelphia and Atlanta are defensively minded teams who have made the lives of their opponents very difficult thus far.
However, the problem Philadelphia has had through 11 games has been complimenting its great defense with consistency on offense. Philadelphia is shooting the ball with tremendous efficiency, but that hasn’t translated to many points because the 76ers rank 25th in the NBA in Pace and generate just 96.83 offensive possessions per game.
With Harden out of the lineup, I expect the 76ers to continue to utilize a slow pace to remain competitive in this game. I also think the back-to-back scenario for the Hawks will play a significant factor here, which will help keep this total below 222.5.
Pick: Under 222.5