Friday NBA Betting Odds & Picks for Hawks vs. Pelicans: Atlanta Has Value as Road Underdog (April 2)
Ronald Cortes/Getty Images. Pictured: Bogdan Bogdanovic #13 of the Atlanta Hawks.
- The Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Pelicans face off Friday in a matchup of two teams playing in back-to-backs after overtime games on Thursday.
- Both teams will be missing their top players in this game, which means bench units will need to step up.
- Roberto Arguello previews the matchup, including his betting pick.
Editor’s note: Trae Young and Danilo Gallinari have been ruled out for the Atlanta Hawks. Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and Josh Hart are also out for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Hawks vs. Pelicans Odds
|Time||Friday, 9 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday and via PointsBet|
The New Orleans Pelicans host the Atlanta Hawks Friday night in the first meeting between these teams this season. Both teams will be playing the second leg of a back-to-back after going into overtime on Thursday.
The Hawks outlasted the Spurs 134-129 in double OT in San Antonio as Trae Young had a team-high 30 points. The Pelicans lost at home 115-110 in overtime to the Magic as Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball all were absent due to injuries.
Those three are questionable heading into Friday’s matchup and the market has the Pelicans listed as short 1.5-point home favorites as a result. Let’s take a look at how these teams match up and if there’s a value play on either side.
Before Nate McMillan took over as head coach, the Hawks were 14-20 and ranked 22nd in Defensive Rating (excluding garbage time, per Cleaning The Glass) at 114.0.
Since he was hired, the Hawks have won 10 of their past 14 games and rank 15th in the NBA with a 112.1 defensive rating. The Hawks also rank eighth in Net Rating (+5.0) since his hiring, and they have been profitable for bettors backing them as they rank fourth in spread differential as they have covered by 3.7 points per game.
The Hawks will need to continue playing better defense and get quality performances from Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic with De’Andre Hunter, John Collins, and Cam Reddish all out Friday. The Hawks will need to penetrate the Pelicans’ defense that allows the fourth-highest shooting percentage at the rim (66.9%) and the second-highest shooting percentage on 3-pointers (39.1%) in the NBA.
Young should have opportunities to break down the Pelicans’ defense that has struggled to contain drivers all season — especially if Lonzo Ball remains out — and get quality looks for the plethora of shooting options on the wing and the rim-running Clint Capela.
The Pelicans’ defense that allows the highest effective field goal percentage in the league and now that Bogdanovic seems to have found his rhythm in his first season with the Hawks, he’s in a prime spot to exploit the Pels.
“We need someone who can take the pressure off Trae. Someone that can score at will. He’s that guy.”
— Bally Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnBally) April 2, 2021
He is finally healthy now, and after scoring more than 20 points just twice in his first 21 games with the Hawks, he has scored more than 20 points in each of his past two games. His playmaking is also underrated: He has dished out at least five assists in three of the past four games.
Bogdanovic has shot 8-of-13 on 3s in the past two games and is coming off of a season-high 28 points on just 17 shots. He will need to continue stepping up as a secondary playmaker behind Young to beat the Pelicans on the road.
New Orleans Pelicans
Brandon Ingram (toe), Lonzo Ball (hip), and Zion Williamson (thumb) missed Thursday’s loss to the Magic, and they are all questionable to play on Friday.
Ball and Ingram are the two Pelicans players shooting 38% from beyond the arc this season, and whether they play or not on Friday, the Pelicans need to space the floor to allow more room for Williamson, Steven Adams and Jaxson Hayes to operate in the paint. Bledsoe is the only other Pelicans player shooting better than 36% on 3s, but he struggled mightily in March, making just 30.4% of his 3-point attempts.
More spacing would allow Williamson, who has been historically consistent as a second-year player, to continue to thrive on offense. His streak of 24 consecutive games with at least 20 points is tied for third-longest by a player in the first two seasons of his career since the NBA merger — the only players ahead of him are Luka Doncic and Shaquille O’Neal.
Ingram has also been consistent as he is averaging 23.8 points per game. Per Cleaning The Glass, both Williamson and Ingram have usage rates in the 94th percentile (among their respective position groups) while also scoring in at least the 80th percentile in points per shot attempt and having an assist rate in the 89th percentile or higher. The Pelicans will have a much better chance of beating the Hawks with at least one of them healthy.
Health aside, if the Pelicans hope to win as home dogs, they’ll need young guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker to continue his improved play.
Alexander-Walker has been playing his best basketball over the past two weeks as the sophomore guard has scored at least 14 points in a career-high six consecutive games. He had scored more than 13 points in consecutive games just once before the last two weeks.
Alexander-Walker has emerged as a desperately-needed shooter on the perimeter who is knocking down 41.4% of his 3s dating back to the beginning of March. If one or both of Ingram and Williamson remain out on Friday, his shooting efficiency will be key to keeping the Pelicans’ offense afloat.
With so many question marks surrounding the Pelicans’ top players, I like the Hawks as short road favorites here. Even with a healthy trio, the Pelicans still have major issues defensively, and Capela’s elite rebounding creates a matchup problem for a Pelicans team that normally dominates the glass.
The Hawks have consistently taken care of business against bad teams under interim coach Nate McMillan as they have won nine of their 10 games during this stretch against teams outside the top five teams in the Western Conference and the top three in the Eastern Conference.
Expect this trend to continue on Friday regardless of the Pelicans star trio’s presence. I’d bet the Hawks at +1.5 down to -3 here.
Pick: Hawks +1.5