Hawks vs. Lakers Expert NBA Betting Analysis and Free Pick

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Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot #7 and Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks celebrate. Harrison Barden/Getty Images/AFP

The numbers say we should fade the Los Angeles Lakers again, but do we really want to put the Atlanta Hawks in Friday’s NBA picks?

Atlanta Hawks vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Friday, January 7, 2022 – 10:00 PM EST at Crypto.com Arena

Never give up on a good gimmick – until it’s no good anymore. We’ve made out like bandits fading the Los Angeles Lakers here at the ranch, provided that LeBron James is in the lineup, but James has made our NBA picks more difficult lately by playing near-MVP basketball again. They’re 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five games, improving to 15-12 SU and 10-17 ATS with King James wearing the Royal purple and Gold.

Fortunately for us, we saw this coming. We switched to the over for Tuesday’s game between the Lakers and the Sacramento Kings, an opponent that we just weren’t comfortable betting on, and so it came to pass: Sacramento 114, Los Angeles 122 (Over 230).

Maybe we should do the same this Friday when the Atlanta Hawks (17-20 SU, 15-22 ATS) pay a visit to the Crypt. I assume that’s what all the cool kids are calling it after Staples had their name taken off the building.

Pitching a Tenth

But they keep pulling us back in. The Lakers opened as 2-point home favorites on the NBA odds board overseas; FiveThirtyEight project Atlanta to win by 1.5 points. Yes, Atlanta. This has not been the kind of season Hawks fans were hoping for, but their team isn’t as bad as it looks, as evidenced by their plus-0.1 point differential per game.

Compare and contrast to the Lakers (20-19 SU, 16-23 ATS) at minus-0.7. Then consider the absence of Anthony Davis (plus-2.9 BPM). The Lakers obviously aren’t as good a team with Davis nursing that sprained MCL, but maybe we need to use the same “fade/follow” dynamic we applied to James while he was struggling. Like his teammate, Davis was performing well below his usual standards this year. His knee injury hasn’t made things nearly as worse for L.A. as first feared.

Young and Restless

I know what all of you are asking, though: What about Stanley Johnson? Yes, the Lakers are going to keep him around for a while – at least on the 10-day contract he reportedly signed Thursday. Maybe they’ll sign Johnson for the rest of the year after that, who knows. He’ll presumably be in the lineup against Atlanta.

As for the Hawks, they’ve got multiple players in league protocol, although many of them could be activated in time for this matchup. The more pressing concern is Trae Young (plus-4.9 BPM), who missed Wednesday’s game against Sacramento with a sore back; his uncertain status may be the reason why the NBA lines haven’t opened on this side of the pond yet, at least as I write this.

This is why we’re going to make another provisional call: For your best bets, take the over if Young plays, as we suspect he will. There’s a 225-point total on the overseas NBA lines, a total that might be a shade low after Atlanta beat Sacramento 108-102 (Under 228.5) without Young’s services. Bet accordingly, and may the sphere be with you.

NBA Pick: Over 227 (-110) with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Over 227 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.