We’ve got an interesting battle between the Atlanta Hawks who host the best team in the west this season, the Phoenix Suns. Both teams will be back in the playoffs this season and this particular game does have playoff implications for both squads with the regular season winding down. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers to see if we can find some value.
Phoenix Suns vs. Atlanta Hawks
Wednesday, May 05, 2021 – 08:00 PM EDT at State Farm Arena
Game Has Playoff Implications for Both Teams
The Atlanta Hawks have been struggling lately due to injury issues. There isn't a player in their starting lineup that hasn't been bit by the injury bug. Despite going 5-5 in their last 10, this team is much improved since firing Lloyd Pierce and replacing him with Nate McMillan. Since replacing Pierce with McMillan, the Hawks have gone 22-10 and find themselves in 5th place in the east. Every game from here until the end of the season is important to them with the Heat only 1 game back. They also have the opportunity to catch the Knicks who they trail by 1.5 games in 4th place.
The Suns find themselves in a similar position in terms of fighting off western conference foes trying to take the number 1 spot in the west, although for now, they really only have to worry about the Utah Jazz who have been short handed lately. The Clippers are 3.5 games back with only 6 games left so it's pretty much a two horse race at this point. Phoenix needs this win but the spot is not great for them coming in off a back to back spot with travel.
More Value with Total in This Spot
Since Trae Young returned from injury, the Hawks offense has been struggling a little bit. They did bounce back with 123 points in their last game but the Blazers have the second worst defense in the league, so it's not something to get overly excited about. The Phoenix Suns are 6th in the league on defense and I really like the way they match up with the Hawks roster. I don't love that the Hawks are 22nd on defense but that stat is a little misleading.
When Atlanta fired Pierce, they were 23rd in the league in defense. Since McMillan took over, they've been 16th and if you take into consideration all of the injuries he's had to deal with since being given the job, that's a very impressive improvement. I think they can do enough to slow down this Suns squad in a tough spot.
The total for this game is 229 at most of the top online sportsbooks. When you look at the Suns record in back to back situations, it's actually great. They are 11-4 on the season which is also their ATS record in that spot. The thing is, if you look at their stats, it's also where they score fewer points on offense and allow less on defense. Of their 15 games played on no rest, 8 of them have gone under. With the total as high as it is against an improved Hawks team, the best bet in this spot is the under.
NBA Pick: PHX-ATL Under 229 (-110) at Bovada