Atlanta Hawks vs. Utah Jazz – NBA, January 15, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| January 15, 2021 5:26 am PST

Southeast meets Northwest at the Vivint Smart Home Arena tonight as both the Hawks and the Jazz look to continue their decent starts to the season. A win for the Hawks would put them level at the top of the standings with the Magic, while the Jazz is looking to cement their position at the top of their Division.

Things have been close recently between these two teams as they have both shared three wins a piece from the last six meetings. This is also the same record as the previous six games played in Utah, so it will be hard to separate the two tonight.

The matchups between the two have certainly been a game of two halves. Over the last ten games played between them, the Hawks have generally edged the first halves, while the Jazz has come out on top on the second.

Hawks vs. Jazz Odds

Hawks (+6.5) -110
Jazz (-6.5) -110
Hawks To Win +210
Jazz To Win -230
Over 224.5 Points -110
Under 224.5 Points -110

My initial thoughts are that the handicap looks a couple of points too high, as does the points total. Let me break both teams down and see what I can come up with.

Hawks Preview

The Hawks have a split 5-5 record from their opening ten games this season. You would imagine that the Hawks would have struggled for consistency this season with a split record, but you would be wrong for thinking that. They have either been consistently good or consistently bad.

They won four of their first five matchups but then lost the next four in a row before ending that run with a great win against the 76ers last time out. That game followed their season pattern as they were brilliant in the first and last quarters but terrible in the second and third.

They have been good on the road so far, winning three of their five games to date. However, they have lost two of the last three and will be desperate to return to winning ways here.

Here are the latest betting trends for Atlanta:

  • They have only won one of the last five games against the spread.
  • Their last six games have all gone under the betting total.
  • Against Utah, they have won four of the last five betting with the spread.
  • Six of their last seven road trips have gone under the points total.
  • This has also been the case when visiting Utah, as four of the last five games have gone under the total.
  • Atlanta has won 11 of the last 16 games against teams from the Western Conference when betting on the spread market.
  • The Hawks have only won three of their last nine games against teams in the Northwest Division.

This game could come down to whoever recycles the ball better on the night as we have the best two offensive rebounding teams going up against each other. The Hawks Swiss sensation, Clint Capela, will be hoping to come out on top against Rudy Gobert of the Jazz.

The Hawks have a good offense this year, despite a terrible field goal percentage. They are scoring at just 43% this season, which is the third-lowest percentage in the league. Presumably, they are still scoring so well because they are excellent at rebounding the ball, often giving them second and even third chances to score.

They also make teams pay for ill-discipline as they have the fifth-highest success rate from the free-throw line this season.

They have the highest average score on the road this season, averaging 121 points per game, which makes them competitive at all times.

Most of their plays go through Point Guard Trae Young, who is having a great season so far, averaging eight assists per game, the fourth-highest in the league.

Their defense has also been good, often playing a high court pressing game, which tends to pressure their opponents to make mistakes. However, unlike their attack, it hasn’t been as good on the road. It’s hard to say what the reason for this is as their style of play doesn’t change whether they play at home or on the road.

Despite pressing so high, they don’t tend to steal the ball often or make many blocks, averaging just six and three per game, two of the lowest averages in the league.

The Hawks have a few injuries starting to mount up as Gallinari, Dunn, and Bogdanovic will all miss them one, and Point Guard Rondo’s fitness is questionable as he recovers from a knee injury. However, they are hopeful that Capela will return for this one, and he will be critical in this battle of the two best rebounding teams in the league.

Jazz Preview

After losing back to back games for the first time this season, the Jazz ended their recent road trip with three convincing wins in a row against the Bucks, Pistons, and the Cavaliers. It was a successful road trip overall, winning four of their six games played.

They will be hoping to continue this good form at home, where they have lacked so far, only winning one of their three games. However, that one win was the last home game they played, and it was against an excellent Clippers team, so there is plenty of encouragement for them to take into this one.

Here are the latest betting trends for Utah:

  • The Jazz has won five of their last seven games against the spread.
  • Eight of their last 12 games have gone under the betting total.
  • They have only won one of their last five home games against the spread.
  • Utah has an outstanding record against Eastern Conference teams, winning 16 of the previous 20 games.
  • They have won their last five games in a row against opposition from the Southeast Division.
  • Utah has a 5-2 record against the spread when playing in January.
  • Their games have been low scoring recently when they have been the betting favorite as six of the last nine have gone under the points total.

For a team doing as well as the Jazz are this season, you would expect them to have a better offense than they currently do. They average 110 points per game, which isn’t the worst average, but it gives their defense a fair amount of work to do each game.

However, their defense copes with it more often than not as they have a well-rounded, defensive unit. It’s probably down to how they are set up, which isn’t always attractive but is effective. They don’t give much away, which includes space, time, and personal fouls.

Unlike the Hawks, the Jazz doesn’t tend to make teams pay from the free-throw line as they have the second-worst scoring percentage in the NBA.

However, what is similar to the Hawks is they too don’t make many steals per game, averaging even less than Atlanta.

Much has been discussed regarding Gobert versus Capela’s matchup, as these two European powerhouses go head to head. While Gobert has the edge in rebounding and blocking, Capela scores much more points per game.

After Gobert signed his new lucrative deal in the offseason, making him one of the highest-paid players in the league, the Jazz will undoubtedly be expecting more points from him.

The Jazz has a few injuries, but not as many to contend with as the Hawks. After facing late fitness tests, both Ingles and Morgan have been declared unavailable, but Favors is likely to return following a knee injury.

Hawks vs. Jazz Pick

If Capela were confirmed as fit and starting in this game, I would opt for the Hawks with the handicap. However, even if he does return, will he be 100% for the game? With these questions having over the game, the safer option seems to be selecting under the points total.

Although they can often score many points, the Hawks don’t shoot well, and against a team that sets up as the Jazz do, it will be difficult to break them down. They also won’t make as many rebounds as they usually do, which should lower their points total.

Pick
  • Under 224.5 Points
    -110

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