On 27th of October 2 teams from Southeast Division will kick off their season at Philips Arena. Washington Wizards are the team on the road as they battle the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.
Washington Wizards are going into this season with a new coach (Scott Brooks) in hopes of improving from their performance in the last season, when they finished with 41 wins and in 10th position in the East. In addition of singing the new coach, Wizards have re-singed Beal and Thornton and added Mahinmi, Nicholson and Smith. A reasonable goal for the Wizards would be an appearance in the playoffs, but it will all come down to how well their key players (Bradley Beal, John Wall) perform. Wizards offence runs through John Wall (19.9ppg, 10.2apg, 1.88spg) and Beal (17.4ppg). Otto Porter Jr. (11.6ppg 5.2 rpg) has been performing well and his development is clearly seen, but when you draw the line, the Wizards will only go as far as Beal and Wall can carry them. When the faith of your team stands on 2 players, there is a risk one of them will get injured. This is in fact something Wizards need to keep in mind, as Beal has had several health issues, playing from 56-73 games/season in his 4 seasons. Looking at last season, he only managed to play 35 games and this is concerning. In the end, health will be a deciding factor in determining how far will Wizards go.
The home side have managed to get to Play-offs for their 9 straight season and of course their goal is to keep the record going. Hawks have finished their season with 48 wins, which got them tied with Hornets and Heat, but due to better division record of Heat, Atlanta was seeded 4th in East. In the play-offs, Atlanta Hawks beat Celtic (4:2), but got destroyed in conference semi-finals against the eventual champions Cleveland (4:0). Now going into this season, Hawks have made a few changed to their roster. Hawks have no longer got Al Horford and Jeff Teague in their team. On the other side, they resigned Bazemore, Muscala and Humphries, whereas Dwight Howard is a new star that joined. In addition Dennis Schroder, a player with huge potential is a new starting point guard. Looking at previous season records. Atlanta Hawks have held a second best record in assists (25.6 assists per match). Millsap (17.1ppg 9.0rpg), Bazemore (11.6ppg 5.1rpg) and Schroeder (11ppg, 4.4apg) are the most impactful players from last season (excluding Teague and Horford). Now with the addition of Howard, Hawks boast a strong team. Atlanta will need Howard to step up and show his worth, as he will be a huge factor on how far will Hawks go.
- Atlanta Hawks: MIke Scott, Tiago Splitter
- Washington Wizards: /
Verdict & Prediction
Looking at previous matchups between these two teams, Atlanta won 6 of the last 10 meetings. Last season each team won twice, once on the road and once at home. Both teams got a decent team, but I don’t see Wizards taking this one. Wizards solely stand on Wall’s and Beal’s performance and do not have any playmakers behind them. Atlanta looks as a better team here for me. They have got a lot of potential in the team and with Howard returning to his home town, he surely is motivated to be a huge contributor for Atlanta win tonight.
Prediction: Atlanta Hawks -5.00 (The original prediction we meant was Hawks -3.5 at 1.93. The odds have gone down since then, but you can try to get better odds at in-play markets.)
Odds: 1.98 5dimes