High Altitude Handicapping: Atlanta Hawks at Denver Nuggets Pro Basketball Picks

Atlanta Hawks at Denver Nuggets
Monday, 2/28/11, 9:00 PM EDT
Opening Point Spread:  Denver -5.5
Current Betting Line:  Denver -6
Opening Total:  200.5
Current Total:  201.5

The Atlanta Hawks are coming off an impressive road win in Portland and now face the new-look Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center

Atlanta has been a solid road team the entire year and enter Monday’s contest in Denver having the second-most road victories in the NBA, including a 90-83 win Sunday in Portland.  “I think we had more energy tonight,” said guard Jamal Crawford.  “Our starters set the tone and our bench just picked it up from there.”  The team is now 19-14 away from home on the season and 7-6 against Western Conference opponents in that particular situation.  It’s the best record through 33 road games in team history and the squad is likely to finish over .500 away from Philips Arena for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign.  Atlanta is 11-9 ATS as an underdog this season and currently getting points on the NBA lines page.

The Hawks have been remarkably consistent over the last 14 months, producing a winning record in every one of them.  The streak is the longest in franchise history, surpassing 12 straight from January 1996 to November 1997.  Many NBA experts were interested to see if trading Mike Bibby, Mo Evans and Jordan Crawford would affect team chemistry at Thursday’s trade deadline, but the team has been on the mark since.  “We’re just playing right now,” said Josh Smith.  “Change can be a good thing sometimes.  We’ve been through it before and come back just fine.”

Denver dropped a 107-106 contest to Portland on Friday and will now return home aiming for a fifth consecutive victory at the Pepsi Center.  “It doesn’t feel good because we lost, but we put up a good fight and had a great effort,” said Danilo Galinari, who came over in the Carmelo Anthony trade with the Knicks.  “It’s tough to lose at the end.”  The Nuggets are 24-7 at home on the season, including a 9-1 record against Eastern Conference opponents.  Denver is 3-3 ATS on the season when playing on two days rest and 15-13 ATS in that particular situation the past three years.

The Nuggets will be playing the Hawks for the first time this season, marking the last team that the club has yet to face on the year.  Overall this series has been dead-even since 2003-04, with both teams winning seven games, splitting the season series the last five years.  Denver has won five of the last six games in the Mile High City.  Head coach George Karl has been thoroughly pleased with his team’s effort since the Anthony trade and is hoping the momentum carries over to tonight’s contest.  “My thing is, we probably got better Friday more than we did Thursday and that’s exciting,” he commented.  “You don’t like losing, but as much as Thursday was a great win, Friday was a good loss.”

Bettors will be interested in backing the Hawks due to their 6-2 ATS mark with zero day’s rest, while the Nuggets are 3-7 ATS in the last 10 meetings in Denver.

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