Atlanta Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – February 23, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| February 23, 2021 3:03 am PST

These teams are currently outside the playoff spots in the Eastern Conference and are desperate to go on a run to boost their chances of playing post-season basketball. Only three wins separate the two teams, so it should be a relatively evenly matched contest in theory.

The Cavaliers have enjoyed playing against the Hawks recently as they have beaten them in four of the previous five matchups. The most recent was at the turn of the year when the Cavs won a low-scoring game 91-96. The Hawks started that game fast and led by 12 at the halftime break. However, Cleveland fought back gallantly to pick up the victory. Atlanta also has the same poor record on their last five visits to Cleveland.

Over the previous ten head-to-head meetings, the Cavaliers average six more points per game than the Hawks. Cleveland has shot well in those games at just under 50%, while the Hawks have relied on their three-point shooting.

Hawks vs. Cavalier’s Match Odds

Hawks -7-110
Cavaliers +7-110
Hawks To Win-333
Cavaliers To Win+240
Over 229-110
Under 229-110

The spread is a bit bigger than I thought it would be, but the points total looks bang on and would be hard to take on either way.

Hawks News

The Hawks are on a bad run of form, having only won three of their previous 11 games. However, two of those wins came in their last three games, so perhaps the tide is beginning to turn. They picked up impressive wins over the Celtics and the Nuggets most recently. Young and Capela inspired the win over the Nuggets, and they will be hoping for more of the same to overturn their poor record against the Cavaliers.

Their form on the road has been okay, but it still reads negative with six wins and eight defeats from their 14 away fixtures. They have struggled for consistency on their travels as of late and have failed to record back-to-back wins in their previous 12 matches.

Here are the latest betting trends for Atlanta:

Bet Type Trend
ATS The Hawks are 2-4 in their last six games.
Total Their previous eight games have all seen the points total go over.
ATS They have lost their last five games against Cleveland.
Total Five of their previous six road trips have gone over the betting total.
Total The total has gone over in eight of their last nine visits to Cleveland.
ATS Atlanta has only won one of their previous five games against teams from the Central Division.

The Hawks have an average-looking offense that has struggled to shoot consistently well this season. Because of that, they have tried to adapt their way of playing recently by driving to the basket more often. Perhaps this is why their form has started to pick up recently. In doing so, they are drawing many fouls, and with a free-throw success rate of 82%, they are certainly making their opponents pay.

Or Perhaps their recent change in fortunes is down to Trae Young’s heroics as of late as he has posted scores of 40, 31, and 35 in his last three games. Here are some of his highlights last time out against the Nuggets.

Their defense hasn’t done as well, and their high court press has failed more often than not.

They don’t concede many three-pointers because of this style of play, which can help late on in a game. But that won’t matter much playing against a team that has shot the lowest amount of three-pointers in the league this season.

It’s strange as when I look at the Hawks, I see a team with some great defensive players, but their attack has done better this season. I guess the Swiss bank, Clint Capela, has been a prime example of this as he is primarily a defensive player, but he has increased his average points per game total this season, adding another feather to his cap.

The Hawks have three players out with long-term injuries, and they are Dunn, Bogdanovic, and Hunter, while Rondo remains a doubt to feature.

Cavaliers News

The Cavaliers are the worst team in the NBA at present, having lost their last ten matches in a row. They haven’t even looked like winning a game during that run of defeats as the closest they have got to any opponents is six points. That is the only game that they didn’t lose by double digits.

Cleveland has a similar record to Atlanta’s away one as they have a win percentage of 0.438, and the Hawks are 0.429 on the road. They have lost their last five games in a row, but they had won five out of six before that. This begs the question, what has gone so wrong for the Cavaliers? Although they lost the five games by wide margins, they did lose against the Clippers, the Bucks twice, and the Nuggets, all excellent teams.

Here are the latest betting trends for Cleveland:

Bet Type Trend
ATS They have lost their previous ten matches.
Total The total has gone over in 11 of their last 14 games.
ATS Cleveland has lost their previous six games at home in a row.
SU They have only won one of their last five games against teams in the Eastern Conference.
Total Six of their previous eight matches played at home on a Tuesday have gone over the points total.

The Cavaliers have a woeful offense that can’t shot at all, especially from the three-point range where they have a success percentage of only 33%, the worst in the league. They can’t even shot from the free-throw line as they have made only 71% of their shots from there.

They have the second-highest average number of offensive rebounds in the league, which usually would be a good thing, but in this case, it shows how many wayward shots they are making. And what’s the point in rebounding the ball if your only likely to miss again? They have the lowest average number of defensive rebounds per game in the NBA, which is probably a better reflection of their capabilities.

Their defense is better but is by no means excellent. They work hard but sometimes appear to be clueless as their marking has a lot to be desired. This seems to be a theme throughout as they also often seem to run out of ideas with the ball, meaning they try to force things and end up turning the ball over.

However, their hard work is rewarded by a high steals count, but they need to use that ball better when they win it back.

The reality is the Cavaliers have already written this season off and are looking towards next year already. This is evident by their decision not to play their star player Andre Drummond recently, as they don’t want to risk him picking up an injury and scuppering any possible trade away from them. Here are some of the destinations that the center could end up at soon.

As well as missing Drummond, the Cavaliers are without Love and Nance Junior, who are long-term absentees. There are also question marks over the fitness of Dellavedova and Prince.

Hawks vs. Cavaliers Betting Pick

It’s not a great time to be a Cavaliers fan right now as there is nothing to cheer about? Your team has been awful and is about to trade their star player! When I looked at the bigger picture, my initial thoughts were that the spread was a little big, but perhaps it isn’t when you break that down. The Hawks have recently picked up two fine wins against quality opposition, and they should have a field day against this Cleveland team.

Pick
  • Hawks -7
    -110

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