Dallas Mavericks vs. Atlanta Hawks – NBA, Thursday, October 21, 2021

| October 19, 2021 6:41 am PDT

Trae Young and Luka Doncic will forever be linked. A fateful draft day trade had them swap teams, and so far, it appears the Mavs got the better end of the deal.

That’s totally subjective, and when you really get down to it, it’s arguable it was a total wash.

Even so, NBA fans get to gather evidence in the ongoing debate over which superstar is better, as the two face off in a Thursday night clash.

Young’s Hawks play host to the Mavericks, as both teams officially tip off their 2021-22 campaigns. How will the game go, and how should you bet? Read on for my Mavericks vs. Hawks prediction and pick.

Mavericks vs. Hawks Odds for October 21st

Mavericks (+2.5)-110
Hawks (-2.5)-110
Over 224.5-110
Under 224.5-110

Trae Young and the Hawks enter their home opener as the slight favorites, per BetOnline. That makes good sense, as they were the better team last year, advancing all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Hawks went 25-11 at home last season, as well as 49-40-1 against the spread. They were also the second best team ATS when favored at home (18-8).

Dallas had one more win than the Hawks during the regular season, and they were somehow exactly the same on the road than at home (21-15). The Mavs were not great against the spread last year (38-41), and they weren’t much better (16-15) ATS as an underdog.

As for the season series, the Mavs and Hawks faced off twice in 2020-21, with Dallas winning both games. Both games were very high-scoring, and easily topped Thursday’s over/under.

Dallas has also had the upper hand in this series lately, going 4-1 over the past five meetings.

Matchup Breakdown

This game obviously starts with the duel between Trae and Luka, but it runs deeper than that. Those guys will get theirs, as they’re both capable of dropping 40+ points on any given night.

For what it’s worth, Doncic was the better performer in both meetings, registering a 27 and 14 double-double in the first meeting, and going for a 28-10-10 triple-double in the rematch.

Atlanta had a shot thanks to John Collins, as he averaged 34 points per game in this series last year. That makes sense, as Dallas was a middle of the pack unit defensively (17th in efficiency), and lacked a reliable enforcer down low (29th in blocks per game).

Nothing has changed in that regard, so Collins could feast again, while Clint Capela could also dominate the glass.

Dallas has the ultimate counter, of course, as they’re one of the deadliest three-point shooting teams in the NBA. They only ranked 17th with a 36.4% clip, but they were top-7 in attempts and makes.

That could be a problem against the Hawks, of course. Atlanta allowed the 4th lowest three-point shooting percentage last year, and has several strong perimeter defenders.

Even if this game turns into a shootout (and it very well may), the Hawks can respond with the 15th best perimeter shooting offense from a year ago.

Prediction for Mavericks vs. Hawks

Sending a message is often important in the NBA. You know the Hawks want to remind everyone of how good they looked down the stretch last year, and you absolutely know Young wants to show Doncic up.

That didn’t happen last year, and it hasn’t happened much in general since Young and Doncic entered the league. Still, the Hawks are at home, and they’re equipped to be more reliable on defense, on the glass, and in the paint.

The Doncic factor can mess up any plans, but the Hawks are the correct favorite at home. The data and the matchup nudges me to the Hawks here, as they need to turn the page on this matchup at some point and prove they’re a true threat in the east.

Knocking off the Mavs at home to get to 1-0 is a pretty good start.

My Top Mavericks vs. Hawks Pick

  • Over 224.5

I like the Hawks to win, so you can get them at a palatable moneyline once the top NBA betting sites release that wager, and I’m totally fine with ATL at -2.5, as well.

But the real bet here is the Over.

I don’t see any way around it, as the sportsbooks must be forgetting just how explosive the league has become. Or maybe they ignored that both of last year’s meetings easily topped this mark.

One way or another, I expect a lot of points in this one. Atlanta should find a way to win, but if I am betting on the Mavericks vs. Hawks contest, I am hammering the Over.

Love the NBA and want more content? Get ready for Atlanta’s first game with these 7 bold NBA predictions – including Trae for MVP.

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Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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