Hawks 2019-20 Season Win Total: Will Atlanta Take the Next Step?

Hawks 2019-20 Season Win Total: Will Atlanta Take the Next Step? article feature image
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Photo credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: John Collins, Trae Young and Kevin Huerter

  • Prior to the 2019-20 NBA season, Matt Moore (@HPBasketball) analyzes each team's win total odds.
  • Below, Matt provides a case for the over and under + gives his confidence rating for the Atlanta Hawks' win total this year.

Check out this post for updated season win total odds and this post for my other 29 season win total picks.

All odds as of Friday. Check out PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

Atlanta Hawks Win Total

The Case for the Over (33.5, PointsBet)

Purely talent-wise, the Hawks have one of the best young cores in the East. Trae Young, John Collins, Kevin Huerter, Alex Len, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish all bring tangible skills to the table offensively.

There’s an outside shot for this team being top-10 offensively, which gets them much of the way home.

They play in the weakest division in the conference, and that conference got worse this summer. Plus, they actually won at a 43% rate (a 35-win pace) vs. the West last year, believe it or not.

Their finish to the season suggests there may be some downhill momentum headed into this year. With their number at just 33.5, a hot start — say 14-20 before January — could give them room for a late push, and their schedule is the easiest in the league over the last two months.

The Case for the Under (35.5, Westgate)

They will not get off to a hot start. The Hawks are tied for the most road games before January 1 at 19. They are tied for third-most rest-disadvantage games in that stretch and tied for the fewest rest-advantage games.

But wait, there’s more. They have the second-toughest schedule from the start of the season through November and the second-toughest in January. By the time they reach that sweet spot late in the season, they may already be full-blown tanking.

Then there’s the defense. Given how good the offense will be, even a top-20 showing defensively from the Hawks could get them to the over. However, there’s every reason to suspect the opposite. This may wind up as one of the 2-3 worst defensive teams in the league. If I could get odds on them as the worst, I’d take it.

Young is more physically adept than Steve Nash, his closest stylistic comp, was defensively. He’s smaller than Steph Curry, his other comp. But he’s also just largely lost on that end.

He’ll find a spot in time when he can give good effort, and his quick hands will help him. But Young had the fourth-worst Defensive Rating league-wide among players with at least 30 minutes per game last season, and Collins was 13th. Sure, veterans Evan Turner and Allen Crabbe may help in that regard; Jabari Parker will hurt enough to maybe even negate that.

There’s a lot of talk about the defensive upside of the rookies, but counting on rookies to anchor good defenses is counting on puppies to lead the hunt. They’re just going to get confused and wander off.

Watching them last year, you’d see teams just carve through them. The Hawks gave up the third-most spot-up possessions per game last season because opponents knew they could get whatever they wanted if they just kept at it.

The Verdict

  • The pick: Under 35.5
  • Confidence: 8 out of 10

Atlanta will be pesky and fun. The offense, which was 11th after the All-Star break last season, will create havoc night by night and catch a lot of teams off-guard. I would anticipate a good-to-great record ATS.

But the Hawks are not getting to 35. They’re not ready for that kind of leap, they’re not deep enough to sustain through injuries and defensively they enter the season as borderline hopeless. Lower numbers earlier in the summer had them as low as 31.5, but those numbers have all gone up. A 32-win season feels like the absolute ceiling, and that still hits the under at most books.

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