Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks – NBA, April 09, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| April 9, 2021 10:16 am PDT

The Chicago Bulls travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks in this Eastern Conference NBA basketball match. Both teams are trying to cling on to their respected places within the Conference. Therefore, a win will be crucial to them.

The Bulls are trying to fight off the Raptors for the final pre-playoff off spot, and they also have their sites on the Pacers who sit above them. They will want to dislodge the Pacers to try and get a more straightforward game in the playoffs. As it stands, they would face the Celtics, and they would be overwhelming underdogs to win that tie. However, if they can move above the Pacers, they would face the Knicks and have a much better chance of progressing further.

The Hawks are caught in a battle for the automatic playoff berths with the Hornets, the Heat, the Celtics, and the Knicks. These five teams are fighting for two spots, and at present, this is a battle that the Hornets and the Hawks are winning.

Atlanta will want to keep things that way. Their win over the Bulls in their previous encounter ended a run of four straight defeats against them and will leave the thought of possibly struggling against them at the back of their minds. However, the Bulls love playing in Atlanta, having won on their last five visits to the city.

Over the previous ten meetings between these two, the Bulls have averaged a whopping nine points more per game than the Hawks. One area that stands out in these matches is the Bulls making many steals per game against the Hawks. Therefore, Atlanta will need to try and hold onto the ball better tonight to claim the victory.

Bulls vs. Hawks Odds

Bulls +3-110
Hawks -3-110
Bulls To Win+115
Hawks To Win-130
Over 227.5 Points-110
Under 227.5 Points-110

The spread is what I expected it to be as it reflects the Hawk’s higher ranking and the fact the Bulls have a better record over them. The points total looks about right, too, so we will have to dig deep to find a value bet in this one.

The Hawks have a good record as the favorites this season, having won two-thirds of their 27 matches. Similarly, the Bulls have won two-thirds of their away games against the spread, which confirms this is a difficult matchup to call.

Bulls News

The Bulls are starting to build momentum at the right time of the season, having won their previous three matches in a row. They are beginning to feel the benefits of having new recruit Nikola Vucevic, and it appears he has now found his way with the Bulls. However, they failed to make it four wins in a row on both occasions; they won three games back-to-back this season.

Their form on the road has been decent as they have a split record of 12 wins and 12 defeats from their 24 away fixtures. However, their trips against teams in the Eastern Conference have been very fruitful as they have won eight of the 11 games they have played. They have also won their previous two matches on the road, and therefore, they have every reason to be optimistic about winning four games in a row for the first time this season.

Here are the latest betting trends for Chicago:

  • They have their previous five matches in a row against the spread.
  • The total has gone under in 11 of their last 15 games.
  • The Bulls are 4-8 in their previous 12 matches.
  • Chicago has won eight of their last 11 games against the Hawks in the handicap betting.
  • They have only lost three of their previous 12 matches against Atlanta.
  • The Bulls have won four of their last five games against the spread on the road.
  • Chicago has won against the spread on their previous five visits to Atlanta.
  • Six of their last seven games against Eastern Conference opposition have gone under the points total.
  • The Bulls are 4-9 in their previous 13 matches played in April.

The Bulls have a decent offense that should probably be averaging more than the 112-points per game they are currently averaging. Perhaps surprisingly, given their excellent form on the road, they are averaging three points more in their away fixtures, making them the fifth-best attack on the road this season.

They need to use the ball much more effectively than they are as they have made the most turnovers in the league this season and are often their own worst enemies. When you are doing that and not making many steals either, it means you often see less of the ball than your opponents. As previously mentioned, their high number of steals has been crucial to their recent success over the Hawks, and without that, who knows where that will leave them.

Their frailties sit with their defense which needs work. They play a very high pressing game that works to a certain degree, but they often get caught from behind.

The Bulls have three players listed as questionable to feature tonight, and they are Temple, Mokoka, and Dotson.

Hawks News

The Hawks had a four-game winning streak ended by the Grizzlies’ last time out. Atlanta won the first and last quarters both by five points, but they fell apart in the middle part of the game on their way to a crushing 18-point loss. One thing was missing in this match, and that was Clint Capela. The Hawks missed his presence on the court, and I believe the Grizzlies reveled in his absence and took confidence from it, even before the tip-off.

They have been good at home, having won 13 and lost ten of their 23 games at the State Farm Arena. The defeat against Memphis was also their first home loss in eight matches, and therefore it will be interesting to see how they bounce back tonight.

Here are the latest betting trends for Atlanta:

  • The Hawks have lost only one of their previous five matches against the spread.
  • Six of their last eight games have gone over the betting total.
  • They have won seven of their previous eight matches at home against the spread.
  • Atlanta is 13-5 in their last 18 games.
  • The Hawks have only lost one of their last six games against teams in the Eastern Conference.
  • Eight of their previous 12 matches played in April have seen the points total go over.
  • All of their last five games played on a Friday have gone over the betting total.

Despite not being the most accurate of shooters, the Hawks have a good offense this season. Well, that is until they get to the free-throw line anyway. They have the fifth-highest success rate from there, proving they can shoot.

Their biggest strength in attack is their offensive rebounding which is only bettered by two other teams in the league this season.

They also have a decent defense that covers their opponents relatively well all over the court.

The Hawks young lion, Trae Young, has been the playmaker for his team this season, but his performances as of late have drawn some criticism towards him. I think these comments are harsh, but perhaps they are directed at Young because of his incredible ability and potential. Either way, it appears that the words are not affecting him, and he doesn’t seem to be bothered by them.

Capela remains a doubt this evening, along with Gallinari, who is suffering from an ankle injury. However, confirmed absentees are Dunn, Collins, Hunter, and Reddish.

Bulls vs. Hawks Pick

Pick
  • Bulls +3
    -110

The penny seems to have finally dropped for Vucevic, and he is now starting to click with his new teammates. The Bulls have looked impressive as of late, especially in their recent win over Conference leaders the Brooklyn Nets. Whereas the Hawks are missing their star player, and I can’t see him playing tonight as it usually takes more than a couple of days to get over an Achilles problem, especially for such a big man. They looked lost without him against the Grizzlies.

That is one of the reasons I am going to side with the Bulls to win this with the handicap. They also seem to love playing in Atlanta, and their record on the road, especially against east coast teams, has been impressive.

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