NBA Wednesday Night Odds: Atlanta Hawks at Minnesota Timberwolves

Kevin-Love-timberwolves-42Atlanta at Minnesota
Time: 8 PM ET, Mar 26, 2014
Spread: MIN -5.5

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

The Atlanta Hawks have remained competitive with All-Star center Al Horford out for the season, but currently seated 8th in the East, the Hawks will have a tough draw in the Indiana Pacers.

Atlanta still must hold off New York, as the Knicks trail by just three games and have been surging (won eight of last 10). The Hawks will look to make a further move to secure the spot when it travels to Minnesota tonight, but NBA oddsmakers are favoring the Timberwolves by 5.5 points.

Atlanta has lost its last three contests and is slumping at the worst possible time. The Suns defeated the Hawks 102-95 on Monday night, despite 19 points from forward Paul Millsap. Millsap is averaging 17.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while posting a team-high in PER, too (19.9). He signed with Atlanta after leaving Utah over the summer, and the Hawks hope he and Horford can form a powerful duo inside next season when Horford returns.

Guard Jeff Teague has also made strides and is the best point guard no one ever talks about, averaging 16.4 points and seven assists per game this season. The Hawks don’t have a lot of talent outside of Teague and Millsap, as role players like Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll are counted on heavily. In a first round matchup with Indiana, Atlanta’s second unit would almost certainly be torched.

Minnesota is 34-35 on the season but has lost its past three games and currently sits a full seven games out of the playoffs. Forward Kevin Love has expressed his frustration, and it’s palatable; if the Wolves were in the East it would be the third best team in the Conference. Instead, an offense that is ranked 4th in the league in points scored (106.3) is looking lottery bound, mainly because the transition defense has been horrible.

Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic are strong offensively and good on the offensive glass, but often struggle to get back on defense and its exposed the Wolves, as it allows 103.6 points per game (26th in NBA). Love is posting an astronomical PER (27.9), and Pek has been strong, too (20.8), but Ricky Rubio hasn’t evolved much as a player and still has a broken jump shot. The Wolves have a lot of talent but may need to retool with the thought that Love bolts in free agency.

ATL Trends: 0-6 ATS in last 6 Wednesday games; 0-5 ATS in last 5 vs teams with losing SU records; UNDER 7-0-1 in last 8 following ATS loss.

MIN Trends: OVER 4-0 in last 4 after allowing 100 points or more in previous game; OVER 4-0 in last 4 overall; 0-4 ATS in last 4 home games.

Head-to-head: Hawks 6-1 ATS in last 7 in Minnesota; OVER 5-1 in last 6 meetings; Hawks 1-3-1 ATS in last 5 meetings.

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