Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#567 Indiana Pacers vs.
#568 Atlanta Hawks
Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 1:05pm EDT
Philips Arena, Atlanta
Written by Roberto Arguello

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The Hawks host the Pacers Sunday afternoon in the second of three meetings between these teams this season. The Pacers won the first matchup 125-113 in Atlanta on February 13th. The Pacers are coming off of a 119-111 loss to the Jazz on Friday while the Hawks are also looking to bounce back after a 120-109 loss to the Bucks on Thursday.

Pacers Need Brogdon and Sabonis at Their Best

If the Pacers cover or pull the upset, it will be because their offense improves with big games from Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon. Doug McDermott (ankle) and Myles Turner (ankle) are questionable to play on Sunday while T.J. Warren remains out for the season with a foot injury.

Newly acquired Caris LeVert will help with the offense with his slashing and shooting, but ultimately Malcolm Bordon and Domantas Sabonis will need to play well for them to upset the Hawks. Brogdon and Sabonis must be aggressive against the Hawks and get to the bucket or take open threes instead of settling for midrange shots. Sabonis needs to step up as his 111.4 points per 100 shot attempts since March first rank in the 28th percentile among bigs. He is struggling with his shooting as he is making just 29.6% of his threes this season, and he has been horrible from beyond the arc since the beginning of March as his 15.2% shooting from beyond the arc ranks in the first percentile (dead last) among bigs over that span.

Among Pacers players with well-above-average usage rates, Malcolm Brogdon is the only player who is scoring with above-average efficiency as his 113.4 points per 100 shots rank in the 60th percentile among combo guards. He and the crafty TJ McConnell, who is scoring in the 79th percentile with 117.6 points per 100 shots (per Cleaning The Glass) will need to play well for the Pacers to win.

The Pacers will also need to step up on the glass as they rank dead last in defensive rebounding rate, and they will face Clint Capela, the leading rebounder and offensive rebounder in the NBA. Defensively, the Pacers like to go over screens and funnel drivers into the lane so that Myles Turner can contest shots at the rim. This has led to the Pacers allowing the most shots at the rim (38.6% of shots), but opponents are shooting the lowest percentage (60.3%) at the rim against them. This leads to open rebounds on the weak side, and the Pacers will need a collective effort to limit the Hawks’ second chances.

Bogdanovic on Fire

If the Hawks hope to win and cover against the Pacers, they will need a quality performance Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic. De’Andre Hunter (knee), Kris Dunn (ankle), Tony Snell (ankle), and Danilo Gallinari (foot) are all out on Sunday. John Collins (ankle) is questionable while Cam Reddish (Achilles) remains out indefinitely.

Before Nate McMillan took over as head coach, the Hawks were 14-20 as they ranked 22nd in defensive rating (excluding garbage time, per Cleaning The Glass) at 114.0. Since he was hired, the Hawks have won 16 of 22 games and rank 14th in the NBA with a 112.3 defensive rating. The Hawks also rank sixth in net rating at +4.8 since his hiring, and they have been profitable for bettors backing them as they rank second in spread differential as they have covered by 4.0 points per game.

The Hawks will need Bogdan Bogdanovic to continue his hot shooting as he has finally found his rhythm in his first season with the Hawks. Bogdanovic had struggled in Atlanta as he worked to find his spot on the team after getting COVID-19 in the offseason and missing time between mid-January and early March with a knee injury.

He is finally healthy now, and after scoring more than 20 points just twice in his first 21 games with the Hawks, he has scored more than 20 points in eight of the last 10 games. He has found his groove playing alongside Young without the ball, but he also has thrived when Young is off the floor in the pick-and-roll as a playmaker. In nine April games, Bogdanovic has been on fire as he is making 52.6% of his threes on more than eight attempts per game.

The Pacers allow the second-fewest three-point attempts in the NBA, so Young and Bogdanovic will need to make more midrange shots than normal, but they each rank in at least the 74th percentile in midrange accuracy, per Cleaning The Glass. Young and Bogdanovic will need to collapse the Pacers’ defense and either get shots for themselves or the other healthy shooters like Brandon Goodwin and Kevin Huerter or put pressure on the rim with lobs to Capela and possibly Collins.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:


Assuming the players listed as questionable don’t play, the value is on the Hawks as Bogdanovic is shooting the lights out while Trae Young should tally a plethora of assists. In the last matchup against the Pacers, Young only took nine shots, but he recorded 14 assists. The Hawks should take advantage of the Pacers’ drop defense with Capela on the glass, and he will have an even bigger day if Turner misses his seventh straight game. Expect the Hawks, who have won seven of their last nine games, to win and cover.

Prediction: Hawks -4.5

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:


With both teams having significant players questionable like Turner and Collins, the value is on the under. The Hawks will have trouble generating quick looks from beyond the arc against the Pacers as Indiana runs over the top of screens, and this will lead to a slower pace as they work deeper into the shot clock to generate quality shots. With Sabonis struggling to shoot from deep and Turner likely out, take the under.

Prediction: Under 234.5

Written By Roberto Arguello , "Roberto Arguello"

Roberto is a college basketball and NBA sports betting analyst. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners he broadcasted for PGA TOUR LIVE and was the voice of Stanford Football on KZSU 90.1 FM. His sports betting articles have been featured on Sporting News, The Action Network, and BetQL. Roberto enjoys long romantic walks through the fairways and fullback handoffs.