Hawks vs. Suns NBA Odds & Picks: Phoenix Has Edge in Matchup of Hot Teams (Tuesday, March 30)

Hawks vs. Suns NBA Odds & Picks: Phoenix Has Edge in Matchup of Hot Teams (Tuesday, March 30) article feature image
Credit:

Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images. Pictured: Devin Booker.

  • The Suns and Hawks have both been playing great basketball of late.
  • However, the Suns still hold an edge despite being favorites, according to Roberto Arguello.
  • Check out Arguello's breakdown and prediction below.

Hawks vs. Suns Odds

Hawks Odds +6.5
Suns Odds -6.5
Moneyline +220/-270
Over/Under 221
Time Tuesday, 10 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds as of Monday night and via FanDuel

The Hawks face the Suns on Tuesday night in Phoenix in the first meeting between these teams this season.

The Hawks have surged in the Eastern Conference in March as they have won nine of 12 games since Nate McMillan was named the interim head coach. They are coming off of a 126-102 loss to the Nuggets and MVP-frontrunner Nikola Jokic on Sunday.

Tuesday, they will match up with a Suns team that has won five of its last six games after beating the Hornets 101-97 in overtime to close out a four-game road trip on Sunday. The Suns are 6.5-point favorites as they continue fighting for seeding in the competitive Western Conference.

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Atlanta Hawks

If the Hawks hope to pull the road upset against the Suns, they will need to continue playing great defense. Before 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 rank 10th in the NBA with a 111.1 defensive rating. The Hawks also rank seventh in net rating at +6.3 since his hiring, and have been profitable for bettors backing them as they rank second in spread differential, covering by 3.9 points per game.

It is even more impressive to consider that the Hawks have improved this much defensively without their second-best defender, De’Andre Hunter, for nine of those 12 games in March. Hunter is the team’s best wing defender, and his -7.9 on/off defensive rating ranks in the 93rd percentile among forwards and trails only Clint Capela’s -8.2 defensive rating, per Cleaning The Glass.

Hunter is questionable to play on Tuesday with a sore right knee while Kris Dunn (ankle) and Cam Reddish (Achilles) remain out. Lou Williams was traded to the Hawks from the Clippers at Thursday’s trade deadline, and it is unclear if he will make his Hawks debut on Tuesday.

The Hawks will need Trae Young at his best as a scorer and facilitator to pull the upset over the Suns. He will need to penetrate the Suns’ defense to get quality looks for the plethora of shooting options on the wing and rim runners like Capela and John Collins. The Hawks will need to make shots against a stingy Suns defense that ranks fifth in defensive efficiency and fourth in effective field goal percentage allowed.

Phoenix Suns

If the Suns win and cover as home favorites, it will be because they win the three-point battle, and Deandre Ayton steps up against Capela inside. Abdel Nader (knee) is out Tuesday against the Hawks.

The Suns have won 23 of their last 29 games because they have emerged as a complete team. They have elite guards in Chris Paul and Devin Booker, who can distribute and score efficiently when they need to create for themselves with the shot clock running down. Both Paul and Booker rank in the 68th percentile or better in points per 100 shot attempts and in the 90th percentile or higher in assists percentage among their position groups.

So, this is really kinda insane to wrap my brain around.

Devin Booker (age 24) has more career 30-pt games than:

Chris Paul
Kawhi Leonard
Dwight Howard
Blake Griffin
LaMarcus Aldridge

He's quickly closing in on Kyrie, Amar'e, even Tim Duncan potentially as soon as this season pic.twitter.com/Y4Ngpce76B

— Sam Cooper (@scooperhoops) March 29, 2021

The Suns have strong defenders like Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder, who can also spread the floor and make shots. They also have a deep bench full of smart players who make winning plays like Dario Saric, Cameron Johnson, Cameron Payne and Torrey Craig.

The Suns have also been successful because they are shooting the ninth-highest percentage (38.0%, excluding garbage time) on threes while holding their opponents to the second-lowest three-point shooting percentage (34.6%) in the NBA. Furthermore, Suns opponents are attempting the eighth-fewest threes (34.2% of shots).

The Suns must continue defending the three-point line at a high level as the Hawks have a handful of dangerous shooters like Trae Young, Tony Snell, Danilo Gallinari, John Collins and Kevin Huerter. Snell is the least well-known shooter of this group, but his 57.1% three-point accuracy leads the NBA among players attempting at least two three-pointers per game.

The Suns will also need Ayton to play well inside against Capela, the NBA’s leading rebounder. Ayton has been inconsistent, but when he plays at a high level, the ceiling on this Suns team rises. The Hawks’ offense is 19th in effective field goal percentage, but they are 12th in offensive efficiency as they benefit from the fourth-highest offensive rebounding rate (28.2%) in the league. Ayton doesn’t need put up points, but he does need to step up on the boards to help the Suns cover on Tuesday.

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Hawks-Suns Pick

While the Hawks have played their best basketball in March, the Suns have been even better as they rank third in point differential at +9.3 points per 100 possessions. The Suns have been led by their defense, which ranks second in defensive efficiency (106.3 points allowed per 100 possessions) this month.

The Nuggets exposed the Hawks on Sunday (PSA: never bet an Atlanta team on 3/28) in the Hawks’ blowout loss, and they showed just how big of a gap there is between this surging Hawks team and the contenders in the Western Conference.

While the Hawks have won nine of 12 games this month, none have come against teams in the Western Conference’s top six teams (with the exception of the Lakers who were without Anthony Davis and LeBron James). Take the Suns as 6.5 point favorites with value down to -7.

Pick: Suns -6.5 (bet down to -7)

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