NBA Basketball Betting: Oklahoma City Thunder at Atlanta Hawks

NBA Basketball Betting:  Oklahoma City Thunder at Atlanta Hawks

The surprise and somewhat improbable ascendance of the Atlanta Hawks to the top of the NBA Eastern Conference has been one of the most underrated stories of the season. While the mainstream sports media remains obsessed with LeBron and the Cavs–currently the 5th place team in the East–the Hawks just go out and win every night. Atlanta enters play tonight on a 14 game winning streak. Before the current streak, they won 13 of 15. Despite this remarkable success they continue to play before small, apathetic fans in the worst pro sports city in American. Tonight they’ll welcome a Western Conference foe, more specifically the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder have Kevin Durant back in the lineup but have just recently clawed back over .500 at 22-20. They’ve won four straight and 7 of their last 10.

The Hawks continue to get no respect not only from their own fans and the mainstream media but also from bookmakers and the betting public. Somehow the Hawks are just a -4 point favorite at home over the Thunder. Atlanta is 18-3 SU/14-7 ATS at Phillips Arena this season and 26-3 SU/21-7 ATS as a favorite. To give you some idea of how the public continues to undervalue the Hawks take a look at their ATS performance during the current winning streak. Not only are they 14-0 SU during this run they are 13-0-1 against the spread! And it’s not like the incremental adjustments of linesmakers and bettors are starting to kick in–since the first of the year the Hawks are 12-0 SU and ATS. For a team to go on a double digit win streak while not losing against the spread means only one thing–they are flat out undervalued.

Oklahoma City may be overvalued at this point just because of Durant’s return to the lineup. This is also a nasty ‘sandwich spot’ for the Thunder–they’re coming off a hard fought 105-103 win over Washington on Wednesday and play against LeBron and Cavs in Cleveland on Sunday. The Hawks might have a better record than both teams but they still don’t have the ‘rep’. That means there’s a good chance the Thunder will come out ‘flat’ for a game against the best defensive team in the league. Don’t expect that to work out too well.