One of the best matchups in the NBA on Monday night is the Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks contest taking place in Atlanta. Both of these teams have shown early in this season that they have the potential to be one of the teams remaining in the late rounds of the playoffs. But for now, both will be hoping to continue to tip the scales in their favor when they face off to start the month of November.
Last season, the Hawks and Wizards had very different levels of success in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Atlanta went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, while the Wizards managed to make it to the first round before getting eliminated by the Philadelphia 76ers. But so far this season, it has been the Wizards who have started off with the better record than Atlanta, as Washington finds itself tied atop the East standings through the month of October.
Washington Wizards – Playing Great Basketball
So far this season, the Washington Wizards have won five of their first six games, with their lone loss on the year coming on the road against the title favorites in the Brooklyn Nets. Since their loss to the Nets, the Wizards have won three straight games, including a game against these same Atlanta Hawks that they will face on Monday. And the Wizards have done this while playing nothing but playoff contenders in the East, having faced games against the Raptors, Pacers, Nets, Hawks and two against the Celtics.
The ultra-small ball lineup that the Wizards have employed has been very effective for them so far. Playing three full-on guards in Dinwiddie, Beal and Caldwell-Pope gives them some serious offensive pop, while Kyle Kuzma has been a revelation at the power forward spot. Daniel Gafford is questionable for this game for the Wizards at center, but the energy of Montrezl Harrell has been a great boost to this team as well.
Expected Line-Up: Spencer Dinwiddie, Bradley Beal, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell
with best odds
Atlanta Hawks – Trying To Adjust To Officiating
The early portion of this NBA season has had plenty of ups and downs for the Atlanta Hawks, as they have been adjusting to the changes in officiating throughout the league. Without being able to jump into contact to draw fouls, their star player in Trae Young has had a slower start than he may have liked this year. But the Hawks have still managed to split their first six games of the season, even after losing their last two games to the Wizards and the Philadelphia 76ers.
In this contest, the Hawks return home, where they are 2-0 on the season so far. But it should be noted that the Hawks haven’t been tested on their home floor yet this season. In their two home games, they picked up wins over the lowly Detroit Pistons, as well as a Dallas Mavericks team that has struggled mightily on the offensive side of the floor under new coach Jason Kidd.
Expected Line-Up: Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, DeAndre Hunter, John Collins, Clint Capela
Expert Pick #1 – Wizards +5.5 @ -110
The first bet to make on this game is the Wizards +5.5 at odds of -110. Washington is so good at using their smaller lineup to create matchup problems for teams, and they should be able to do that here against a Hawks team whose smaller players aren’t great defenders. Atlanta relies a lot on their bigs in John Collins and Clint Capela, who will be forced to guard the perimeter more than they’d like against the Wizards as well.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 223 @ -110
Our next bet for this contest is the over 223 at -110 odds. Four of the Wizards’ six games this season have hit at least 223 points, and their ability to hit shots from the perimeter and get a lot of shots up with their pace makes this an attractive wager in this situation. As long as neither team has a disastrous shooting night, expect this game to go over the total in a pretty convincing fashion with all of the shooters on the floor.
Expert Pick #3 – Trae Young Under 25.5 Points @ -115
While the total should go over for this contest, our final bet is for Trae Young to finish this game with under 25.5 points at -115 odds. Young has been averaging under 23 points per game this season, and finished the previous matchup with the Wizards with just 13 points. Young can be dangerous, but the Wizards and the league’s new rules should be able to slow him down.
The Washington Wizards could win this game outright against the Atlanta Hawks when all is said and done. Washington’s lineup has been too much for several defenses in the NBA to handle, as they play a smaller lineup more than most opponents would care to. Expect them to use that to their advantage again in Atlanta.