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The Atlanta Hawks (4-3) and Orlando Magic (4-3) are set to face off in Mexico City on Thursday night to continue the NBA’s commitment to expand the game internationally.
The Hawks lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday, snapping a four-game win streak. The Magic also lost to the Dallas Mavericks at the start of the week after winning back-to-back games beforehand.
Here, we’ll react to the betting odds and share our favorite picks for the Hawks vs. Magic matchup.
The Hawks are 3.5-point favorites on a neutral court despite two-time All-Star and leader Trae Young struggling to shoot the basketball. There’s also no home-court advantage factored into these odds since the game is taking place south of the border.
|Atlanta Hawks||-3.5 (-110)||-160||Over 232.5 (-110)|
|Orlando Magic||+3.5 (-110)||+135||Under 232.5 (-110)|
The Hawks hired ex-Jazz coach Quin Snyder to run the team shortly before the postseason a year ago. The impact was immediately noticeable but also not enough to drastically change their fortune, but they’ve entered the season positively and with a strong sense of what he wants from them.
Young, as we mentioned, has been cold to start the year, shooting 33.6% from the field and 27.3% from beyond the arc. Despite that, he’s averaged 21.7 points and 10.4 assists, while his backcourt mate Dejounte Murray, has averaged 22.6 points, 6.1 assists, and 4.7 rebounds.
Atlanta as a team is fourth in offensive rating and fourth in rebounding rate thanks to improvements from players such as Jalen Johnson (14.3 points, 8.9 rebounds per game). A total of eight players have double-digit scoring averages, including every member of the regular starting five.
The Hawks are only 17th in defensive rating, but even that is an improvement on last year when they ranked 22nd.
Meanwhile, the Magic has started to turn from a hodgepodge of young talent to a team with a real identity. Their offense is still far from the finished product, but they’re fourth in defensive rating, fifth in rebounding rate, and allow the third-fewest points per game.
Franz Wagner (18.7 points, 5.6 rebounds) and Paolo Banchero (18.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists) lead the team in scoring. Cole Anthony is shooting career-highs from the field and from three and adding another 15.9 points per night.
Rookie sixth-overall pick Anthony Black recently moved into the starting lineup. He’s yet to produce an amazing box score, but his wide array of skills and defensive versatility make him an interesting player to watch over the coming months.
Three of the Magic’s four wins have come in games in which their opponent did not score more than 101 points, including their most recent win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, 120-101.
These teams faced one another four times last year. The Hawks won three of those games by one, 10, and 13 points difference. The Magic’s lone win in the series (135-124) had the highest points total of all four games.
Both teams are on an upward trajectory but still have room to grow. The Hawks’ offense can hit a whole new level if Young regains his touch and confidence from outside, while the Magic are still yet to see leaps from either Wagner or Banchero, both of whom have the potential to be 24-point-per-night scorers.
Defense travels and will be important down in Mexico City, which works in the Magic’s favor. However, because both teams are aggressive on the glass and get many second-chance scoring opportunities, we expect them to neutralize one another.
We’ll ride with the Magic here. They have a lot of length and are playing good basketball while still having much room to improve, especially shooting the three-point ball. The Hawks do not guard the perimeter tremendously well (20th in three-point percentage allowed), but it will give them chances to score.
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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