An NBA Eastern Conference tilt takes place on Friday as the Atlanta Hawks travel to take on the Philadelphia 76ers. The game is scheduled for an 7 p.m. tipoff and won't be televised nationally, but will be regionally covered. Currently the odds have the 76ers favored by 5.5 points with the total being set at 184 points. In a matchup of two of the Eastern Conference's best teams, record wise, this game should be a good one to watch.
Free Analysis: Who would have figured that the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers would be two of the top teams record wise in the NBA to this point in the season? In fact, both teams currently sit atop each of their divisions with Atlanta holding a 4 game lead in the Atlantic and Philly having a half game lead over the Miami Heat in the Southeast. In this contest, the Hawks will be looking to win their fifth straight game against a 76ers team trying to bounce back from its first home loss. Atlanta somehow have been playing well without Al Horford in the last week or so, winning four straight games. While that may seem like a good thing for the team, they did win all four of those games at home against teams with sub-.500 records to date this season. One thing for sure the Hawks will need tonight is a big game from Joe Johnson, who can score with the best of the players in the NBA. He is one of the main reasons Atlanta is where they are to date this season, averaging 24.8 points and 5.5 assists in the last four games after averaging 16.7 and 3.4 in the first 11 contests. Josh Smith has also been a big factor for the club this year. He's averaging more than 20 points per game and ripping down almost 12 rebounds per game. Both can cause some problems tonight for the 76ers team, which finds itself in some strange waters atop the division. Philly enters tonight's game off their first loss of the season, which came at the hands of the Denver Nuggets, 108-104. It was a tough loss for the 76ers, who blew a 14-point lead to lose for just the second time in 11 games. Elton Brand, who is averaging 10.3 points this season, is leading a team that has some weapons in players like Andre Iguodala, but maybe lacks a bona-fide "star." But maybe that isn't a big problem for the club. Brand and Iguodala are is two of seven players that are scoring in double figures this year for the team. Add that to the second best NBA defensive scoring team in the league and you have a good mixture to win games. The 76ers are giving up just 87 points per game. In what should be a game that sees some good defensive play, we might be also witnessing a potential NBA post season preview here.
Free Pick: I like the Hawks getting 5.5 points here. Sure, the 76ers have been a great team at home this season, but the Hawks are a very good team with length and athleticism. With the total not being very high, it makes me think that points will be at a premium here in this game and grabbing nearly three possessions with a good team might be a good move for us. The total isn't very high at just 184 points, so this game more than likely will be played in the 80s or lower to mid 90s. That seems pretty fair for these two clubs, so I'll take the UNDER in this contest.
Free Picks: Hawks at Sixers BettingSixers depth is key to this game and Hawks have had toughest schedule in NBA plus other factors NBA bettors need to know about Hawks at Sixers (Friday, January 20, 2012) from Pregame.com - Including predictions from Stephen Nover and analysis from host Marco D'Angelo.