NBA odds: Buy low on the Atlanta Hawks to make playoffs


It is still early in the NBA season, but we are always looking ahead and trying to figure out which teams are trending up or down to find value in the betting market.

Taking a look at FanDuel Sportsbooks “to make the playoffs” odds, there is some serious value on several teams given where they stand today both to make the postseason, but also to miss it.

It is worth noting that these odds reflect making the playoffs, not the play-in tournament. So, the team must make it through the play-in tournament which can help certain teams, as I highlight below.

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Atlanta Hawks -115 to make the playoffs

Atlanta is an interesting position. The underlying metrics look good, but the beginning of their season has been paced by a 4-1 start and then a subsequent four game losing streak. At 7-7 it may seem that the Hawks are underachieving, but I’m bullish on Atlanta cracking the top eight in the East.

For starters, Atlanta’s No. 9 in the league in net rating in spite of a poor shooting start for a team that is built to thrive from deep. The Hawks have shooters all over, yet are 24th in the league in three-point percentage.

We should look at Trae Young’s slow start to the year. Young is shooting 39% from the field and only 29% from deep. However, he has been living at the free throw line, second most in the NBA, but his high free throw numbers are masking a bad start for the budding star.

I don’t see those shooting numbers sustainable for a talent like Young. He unlocks the whole Hawks offense and the fact that the club is still posting a positive net rating is a good sign for Atlanta.

Second year forwards DeAndre Hunter and Cam Reddish have taken positive strides early in the year. Hunter, in particular, has seen his efficiency marks climb to 50/40/86 shooting splits ahead of Wednesday’s game against the Pistons.

I see positive regression from Young and the Hawks. While the point guard has struggled early, he is going to find his shooting stroke as the season goes on.

The Hawks are a buy team to get into the postseason at this number.

Memphis Grizzlies +240 to make the playoffs

It’s tough to make sense of the Western Conference just yet. As always, the West is deep and it's a dogfight to make the postseason. With the play-in tournament involved, it is smart to buy some of these teams that can be in favorable positions to lock up a playoff spot with the extra opportunities.

The Grizzlies offer one of these intriguing options. Star point guard Ja Morant has missed eight of the team’s 13 games this season with an ankle injury, but the team is 3-2 with him in the lineup including wins over the Sixers and Suns.

Jarren Jackson Jr. hasn’t even played yet this season as he rehabs from offseason knee surgery, but the Grizzlies are deep with young talent. 2020 Draft picks Xavier Tillman Sr. and Desmond Bane have already earned rotation spots, while Morant builds on his Rookie of the Year campaign.

The Grizz are four points better with Morant on the floor and it is promising that the team was able to steady the ship with him out of the lineup, going 4-4 during his absence.

At worse, I expect Memphis to be in the play-in tournament, where a +240 price will be a bargain. The Grizzlies lost in the play-in tournament last season, but that experience, matched with Morant’s ascent to stardom, can pay off if they are faced with another trip to the tourney.

Orlando Magic -122 to miss the playoffs

The Magic seem like mainstays in the Eastern Conference playoffs. By no means a contender, Orlando has found a way to make the postseason behind steady defense and merely being the king of the lower class in the basement of the East.

However, the writing is on the wall for the Magic. The team is in the midst of a six-game skid, lost promising young guard Markelle Fultz to a knee injury, and talented players Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon could potentially be on the block for contenders to scoop up.

Looking at the bottom of the East, there are young teams that are going to be hungry to make the playoffs such as Cleveland, Charlotte and New York. Orlando may want to make another run at the bottom of the bracket, but the organization may be better off long-term beginning to rebuild given time has seemingly passed this core by.

Steve Clifford’s team has the fourth worst net rating in the league and while they are hanging on to a 7-8 record, a rebuild could be imminent.

This price feels cheap at -122, even if the team gets to the play-in round. I don’t trust them to generate enough offense to get through a potential two out of three series. Orlando is dead last in effective field goal percentage at 48.1%, which doesn’t feel like an aberration. The team is devoid of offensive weapons and that will hurt them throughout the season.

Of course, the Magic may opt for a full teardown, in which case this becomes a near certainty. Grab them now to miss the playoffs.

Reed is a native of New Jersey and graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a die-hard Brooklyn Nets fan and always believes the spread has a chance of covering. You can follow Reed on twitter @ReedWallach for more commentary