Hawks vs. Nets Updated Odds, Prediction, Preview: Will New Rules Keep Limiting James Harden, Brooklyn Offense?
Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: James Harden
- The Brooklyn Nets have been bet down from -5 to -4.5 three hours before tip against the Hawks on Wednesday night,
- The total moved earlier in the day, too, from 219 to 221, but we're playing the under as the Nets look to get back in sync without Kyrie Irving and with James Harden struggling to adjust to new rules.
- Get our Nets vs. Hawks pick and preview below.
Hawks vs. Nets Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet and updated at 4:45 p.m. ET. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
We have a great Eastern Conference battle on our hands Wednesday with the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets going head-to-head on ESPN. After both finished with a top-five seed in the playoffs last year, they are off to somewhat slow starts this season with identical 4-3 records.
They are both struggling to get going on the offensive side of the court and they both are dealing with injuries to their starting lineup. Let’s dive in and see if we can take advantage of the over/under in this battle of heavyweights.
Can the Hawks Improve on Their Woeful Road Record?
After going 16-20 on the road last season, the Hawks are off to a slow start again this season. They have won just one of their first four road games, a three-point win against the 1-7 New Orleans Pelicans. The Hawks have failed to cover in all four road games and the under has hit in three of those four games as well.
Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic are listed as probable for tonight, but John Collins is questionable with a foot injury. Collins has been fantastic this season averaging 15.4 points and 9.7 rebounds, while shooting a career-high 61.8% from the field.
Without Collins last season, the Hawks covered in seven of nine games while the under hit in five of those nine games. If he is unable to go, they are really going to miss his scoring and rebounding in this matchup.
A big reason for the Hawks struggles on the road this season has been Young and Clint Capela. Young is averaging nearly five fewer points per game away from Atlanta (20.8 compared to 25.7) and shooting just 39% from the field. Meanwhile Capela is shooting 42.1% from the field on the road. For comparison, at home, he is shooting a ridiculous 83.3%! These two catalysts simply haven’t gelled on the road.
The Nets rank ninth in Defensive Rating this season as they have allowed their opponents to score just 104.6 points per game. They Nets have also been so good defensively that they have allowed opponents to shoot just 42% from the field, third-best defensively in the league. The Hawks are in for a tough game tonight on the road.
After ranking 22nd in Pace last season, the Hawks have slowed it down even more this season and currently rank 25th in the league. Even though this is a pace-up spot for the Hawks, I think they will struggle to score, especially if Collins were to miss this game.
Will the Nets Continue to Struggle Offensively?
The Nets have had plenty of home cooking to start off this season — this marks their sixth home game in a row. They haven’t played a road game since Friday, Oct. 22. The under has hit in six of the Nets’ first seven games and they are 3-3 covering the spread as a favorite.
After leading the league Offensive Rating last season, the Nets offense has been off to a slow start as they rank 22nd in Offensive Rating this season. They miss the production and value Kyrie Irving brought to the team.
A major factor to the lack of offensive production is James Harden is not drawing the same fouls as he has been in the past. The new rule is changing his game. Harden has attempted four or fewer free throws in six of their first seven games. A far cry from where he once was. When Harden was on the Houston Rockets, he averaged over 10 free throws a game for six consecutive seasons.
Despite Harden’s struggles, Kevin Durant has been thriving. He has averaged 27.7 points on a career-high 58.3% field goal percentage. Durant also is averaging a career-high 8.9 rebounds per game. Impressive start to the year for 14-year veteran.
Durant leads the Nets in Usage Rate with 31.1%. Harden, naturally, is second with a 27.8% usage. Behind those two superstars is a mixture veterans who have been very inconsistent so far. The next highest scorer is LaMarcus Aldridge who retired last season for health reasons, before Harden and Durant convinced him to give them one more run at a championship. He is shooting a career-high 68% so it is working so far.
Besides Irving still out due to personal reasons, the Nets will be without center Nic Claxton for tonight’s game. Claxton was starting for the Nets and averaging 6.5 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game, so he definitely will be missed, especially defensively guarding Capela.
With both of these two teams struggling out of the gates, I think the low-scoring trend continues here again tonight. Especially if Collins were to miss for the Hawks, that makes them have to rely on Young and Capela to carry the heavy load and they have struggled on the road this season.
It is obvious the Nets are struggling offensively without Irving and the new foul rules affecting Harden. Sure, Durant is having an incredible start to his season, but Deandre Hunter can cause some problems on the defensive end of the floor.
I like the Under in this matchup as both teams tighten up defensively. The Hawks and especially the Nets have had most of their games hit the Under so far this season.
Pick: Under 219 Would bet this down to 217