Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#541 Atlanta Hawks 224.5 vs.
#542 Charlotte Hornets -2.5
Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 5:05pm EST
Spectrum Center, Charlotte
Written by Sporty Jordy

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W/L
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#541 Atlanta
#542 Charlotte
5-17
9-15
42-40
39-41-2
47-34-1
45-36-1
113
110
119
111

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This article covers a past game!

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When and where: December 8, 2019, Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC, 5:00 PM ET

The Atlanta Hawks embark on a three-game road trip with their first stop being in North Carolina against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday. A commonality between both teams is the fact that they’re both coming off losses to the Brooklyn Nets. The Hawks dropped a 130-118 loss to them in a game where star guard Trae Young went off for 39 points. Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham was also left hanging by every teammate not named Terry Rozier in a 111-104 loss.

Back to losing for the Hawks

The Hawks didn’t have long to celebrate their win over the Golden State Warriors putting an end to a 10-game losing streak. It was back to losing on Monday to the Nets as the team failed to rally around another standout performance from star guard Trae Young. He dropped a double-double with 39 points and 10 rebounds in the game, and it still wasn’t enough for the team to get the victory.

Such has been the case for the Hawks this season.

They’re hoping for a turnaround performance in Sunday’s outing against a Hornets team that has the second-worst offense in the league. Young should be able to get buckets in his sleep against a defense allowing an average of 48.8 percent shooting from the floor. A shot basically counts as a lay-up against the Hornets.

However, the undermanned Hawks are fourth-worst in the league in offensive efficiency. Those struggles have also extended to the defensive end of the floor with them allowing a 47.2 field goal shooting percentage. The team would love to see John Collins’ strong defensive prowess in the mix, but he is still serving out his 25-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

Forward De’Andre Hunter is officially listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game as well.

Graham gives the Hornets an injury scare

The Hornets have seemingly dodged a bullet with second-year guard Devonte’ Graham exiting the game against the Nets early with a shoulder injury. He was missed on the floor as the Hornets went on to lose the game, but he is expected to be back on Sunday after clearing the injury report.

The team will need all hands on-deck to ensure they aren’t embarrassed at home by the Hawks. Charlotte has been downright awful on the defensive end. Opponents are shooting 48.1 percent on their home floor, and they are giving up 111.8 points per game. Those stats don’t particularly scare anyone in the NBA, but they could still prove affective against a Hawks defense that’s stuck in the same mud.

Graham has been a significant lift to the Hornets in the aftermath of Kemba Walker’s departure with 19.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 7.8 assists so far this season. The Hornets need him healthy and delivering on offense to ensure they have a real shot at winning.

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There is too much of the Hawks’ offense reliant on one man right now. Young is the one-man circus that brings in the popcorn fans by the thousands. They pay their tickets to see him dribble circles around opposing teams and dropping 28-plus points.

But that’s a losing brand of basketball.

The Hawks aren’t ready to compete with some of the more established rosters featuring multiple scoring options. Graham has been a nice surprise in the aftermath of Walker, and Terry Rozier is trying to make the Hornets look good in their trade with the Boston Celtics. No one is laughing about that signing anymore.

The Hawks will keep this game tight due to another herculean performance from Young. But that same frustrating familiarity will set in when he’s the only player on the floor making plays. I’m taking the Hornets and laying the points in Sunday’s game between struggling Eastern Conference teams.

Prediction: Charlotte Hornets (-3)

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It’s no secret that this game features two of the league’s worst scoring offenses. Charlotte is only averaging 105.4 points per game, while Atlanta is averaging 108.0 points. History isn’t on either side when it comes to breakout offensive performances. Both teams have struggled with efficiency, and that isn’t going to suddenly change before Sunday’s meeting.

Graham’s minutes could also be limited a bit for this game, particularly if his injured shoulder is still giving him problems. It’s one in a long line of things to an eye on heading into the game. I’m taking the over betting total here.

Prediction: Under (224.5)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.