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Toronto Raptors vs. Atlanta Hawks Free NBA Pick & Preview

Raptors vs Hawks Online Betting Odds

The Toronto Raptors will make the trip down to Georgia for a date with the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday. [ad-4468020]

Toronto Raptors (37-28) at Atlanta Hawks (30-35)
Date: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Time: 7:30 PM ET
Venue: Philips Arena
City: Atlanta, Georgia
O/U Odds: 199
Spread: Toronto -2.5

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The Raptors enter this game coming off a loss, and haven’t lost consecutive games since Feb. 7, while the Hawks seem to have pulled themselves out of a tailspin, winning four in a row after dropping six straight, and 14 of 15.

The first three of Atlanta’s slump-busting wins left a lot to be desired, as the team won in Utah, then beat Milwaukee at home and Denver at home by just five points apiece after beating the Jazz by just two points.

The team’s most recent win, in Charlotte on Monday night by a score of 97-83, is reason for optimism, though it leaves the team at a disadvantage for Tuesday’s game, playing on the second night of a back-to-back that involved travel.

A big reason for Atlanta’s turnaround has been the improved play of their defense. The Hawks have limited their last three opponents to 90.7 points per game on 39.3 percent shooting from the floor, and 29.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

In the team’s previous 13 outings, opponents had been averaging 109.4 points on 45.2 percent shooting from the field, knocking down 38.8 percent of their shots from three.
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As for the Raptors, they catch a break as Kyle Lowry isn’t expected to miss any time after taking a knee to the head near the end of their last game. He’s averaging 22.0 points and 9.8 assists over his last five games.

Toronto is simply the better team at the moment.

It was Atlanta that was nipping at Toronto’s heels for the longest time in the Eastern Conference standings, but the Hawks have really taken a step backward in recent weeks, while the Raptors have blossomed. Both teams need this win, the Hawks, so they can hold off the Knicks for the East’s final playoff spot, and the Raptors, so they can hold off hard-charging Chicago and Washington for an opening round home-court advantage.

The Hawks get this game on the second night of a back-to-back, which won’t help their chances. Additionally, Atlanta’s recent commitment to defense, and Toronto’s year-long commitment to that end of the court, leaves a good opportunity to jump in on the under.

The Raptors are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 road games against teams with a winning home record, and are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 games against Eastern Conference opponents.

The Raptors are 4-1 ATS in their last five trips to Atlanta, and the road team is 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings between these teams.

The Hawks are 1-6 ATS in their last seven home games, and are 1-8-1 ATS in their last 10 gaems against teams with a winning record.

The under is 5-1-1 in the Hawks’ last seven games overall.

The play: Toronto -2.5, Under 199

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