Moore: 2 Thursday Angles on Hawks-Bulls and Blazers-Nuggets

Moore: 2 Thursday Angles on Hawks-Bulls and Blazers-Nuggets article feature image

Photo credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Anfernee Simons

  • Matt Moore (@HPBasketball) highlights two NBA angles he's found that could lead to betting value for Thursday night's preseason slate.

Here are two angles to consider for your betting pleasure Thursday night.

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Angle #1: The Hawks defense is raw sewage

The Hawks gave up 133 to the Pelicans and 120 to the Heat this preseason. The Magic and Knicks both scored under 100 vs. Atlanta, which is more concerning for those teams’ offenses, but the overall trend is that the Hawks simply do not have the defensive personnel to counter what any team brings to the table.

Meanwhile, the Bulls have popped over 100 in three of their four preseason games, despite a pretty good defensive schedule.

The Hawks in particular struggle with pick-and-roll coverage and defending spot-up weapons. The Bulls are fifth among all teams in preseason in spot-up possessions. Their conversion rate is low, but that’s related to playing the Bucks and Pacers, two of the best perimeter defensive teams.

The Hawks are not that. They are the opposite of that.

Betting lean: Bulls over 114.5 points

Angle #2: Division dogs in preseason

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are resting Thursday vs. Denver, which might make you think Denver is the play. The Nuggets did not hold shootaround, so we don’t know who they’re resting, but Michael Malone said earlier in the preseason that Nikola Jokic would probably rest more than one game. He rested the first preseason game and has played the last two.

There’s a good chance Jokic doesn’t play. Now, they smoked the Blazers with Jokic out in the first preseason game in Portland. But I’m expecting more Denver starters to rest in this one, and the Blazers bench has gotten some opportunities to step up. I think this is an Anfernee Simons game.

Division dogs in the preseason getting six or more points have gone 71-55-4 (56%) since 2003, per Bet Labs. These two teams have legitimate beef from their playoff series, which will raise the intensity level (comparatively speaking for a preseason game).

Betting lean: Blazers +7

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