Desperate Times: Both Denver and Atlanta Seek Redemption After Slumps
State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA – December 11, 2023 – 7:30 PM ET
Tonight’s NBA slate features an intriguing battle between the Denver Nuggets (14-9) and the Atlanta Hawks (9-12). Both Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Hawks are entering tonight’s game with the hopes of snapping their respective three-game losing streaks. The reigning champions, Denver, have stumbled after a strong start, while Atlanta seeks to find their rhythm under new coach Quin Snyder. Let’s dive into the matchup and analyze the key factors that could impact the outcome.
Spread: Atlanta +2.5
Top Betting Models Favor the Nuggets
A consensus has emerged among leading NBA betting models, with the majority predicting a Denver victory. ESPN’s Basketball Power Index gives the Nuggets a 76.3% win probability, while FiveThirtyEight and FanDuel’s NBA model project a 72% and 68% chance of success, respectively. BetLabs and Basketball Insiders also lean towards Denver, with win probabilities of 55% and 60%.
BetQL and SportsLine Offer Different Perspectives
While the popular models favor Denver, BetQL presents a contrarian perspective, suggesting an Atlanta cover of the +2.5 point spread. SportsLine’s model also deviates slightly, giving the Nuggets a 57% win probability. This divergence adds intrigue to the matchup and highlights the potential for an upset.
Average Score Prediction Points to a Tight Battle
By combining the predictions of various models, we can estimate an average final score of 119.3 for the Nuggets and 116.2 for the Hawks. This suggests a close contest with both teams having a chance to win.
Pythagorean Theorem and Strength of Schedule
Further analysis using the Pythagorean theorem predicts a score of 120.5 for Denver and 117.4 for Atlanta, reinforcing the expectation of a tight game. The strength of schedule metric also slightly favors the Nuggets, with a rating of 0.528 compared to Atlanta’s 0.519.
Best Possible Pick
Based on the analysis of the top betting models, my prediction, and other relevant factors, the best pick for tonight’s game is:
- Denver Nuggets to win | Denver -2.5
- Over 240.5 points
The Nuggets have fallen victim to inconsistent shooting, particularly from their star Nikola Jokic. Despite averaging an impressive 28.4 points, 13 rebounds, and 9.6 assists per game this season, Jokic’s shooting accuracy has dipped in recent contests. He shot just 9-for-26 from the field in their last game against Houston, highlighting the need for better offensive execution.
Positive Signs for Denver
Despite the recent slump, there are reasons for optimism in Denver. The return of Jamal Murray from a hamstring injury has provided a much-needed boost to the offense. He has scored over 20 points in his last two games, demonstrating his scoring prowess and ability to create for his teammates.
Under first-year head coach Quin Snyder, Atlanta is still adjusting to a new system. The team has shown flashes of brilliance, led by the dynamic duo of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Young remains a scoring machine, averaging 27.2 points and 10.6 assists per game. Murray has also been a valuable addition, contributing 20 points, 5.5 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game.
Look Out For These
- Jokic’s Shooting: Can Jokic rediscover his shooting touch and carry the Denver offense?
- Murray’s Return: Will Murray continue his strong play and provide a scoring threat alongside Jokic?
- Atlanta’s Defense: Can Atlanta’s defense contain Jokic and Murray, or will Denver’s offensive firepower prove too much?
- Home Court Advantage: Will the Hawks be able to leverage the energy of their home crowd to their advantage?
Key Injuries To Watch
- Jamal Murray (GTD – Ankle)
- Vlatko Cancar (OUT)
- Jay Huff (GTD)
- DeAndre Hunter (GTD – Quadriceps)
- Jalen Johnson (OUT)
- Mouhamed Goeye (OUT)
- Kobe Bufkin (OUT)
What My Analysis Came Up With
While the Hawks are a talented team with home-court advantage, I believe the Nuggets possess several key factors that give them the edge in tonight’s matchup.
First, Denver’s offensive firepower is unmatched, with Jokic and Murray forming a formidable duo capable of scoring from anywhere on the court. Both players are trending upwards, and with an improved shooting night from Jokic, the Nuggets’ offense could be unstoppable.
Secondly, Denver possesses a more seasoned and experienced team compared to the young Hawks still adapting to a new coach and system. This experience could be crucial in a close game, providing the Nuggets with the composure needed to close out the victory.
Lastly, the Nuggets have historically performed well on the road this season (8-4) and have a winning record against the Hawks in their last three meetings.
While the focus might be on the Nuggets’ offense, the Hawks are no slouches on that end themselves. Trae Young’s scoring brilliance is undeniable, and Dejounte Murray adds another scoring threat alongside him. Additionally, the Hawks have shown flashes of defensive improvement under Snyder, particularly in their frontcourt. These factors, combined with the Hawks’ home-court advantage and potential return of key players like Jalen Johnson, create a perfect recipe for a high-scoring game.
PICK: Nuggets -2.5 WINNER
O/U: Over 240.5 WINNER