Hornets vs Hawks Picks and Predictions: Young and the Rest (less Collins)

When you think of the Hawks and the Hornets, the first thing that comes to mind is "offense." However, our NBA betting picks for Wednesday's play-in game explain why you shouldn't bank on a high-scoring affair in the ATL.

Ryan Murphy - Managing Editor at Covers.com
Ryan Murphy • Managing Editor
Apr 13, 2022 • 16:12 ET • 4 min read
De' Andre Hunter Trae Young Atlanta Hawks NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks are back in the postseason for the second straight year, but it’s far from the triumphant return many anticipated when the 2021-22 campaign began.

Ten months after advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals, Atlanta needed to win seven of its last 10 games just to claim the ninth seed and a spot in the league’s play-in tournament.

Its reward? A date with the feisty young Charlotte Hornets, with whom the Hawks split their regular-season series at two games apiece.

Atlanta is the NBA betting favorite for this showdown, with the winner advancing to face the loser of Tuesday’s game between the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers. The loser will be sent packing, left to wonder where it all went wrong.

Will the Hawks take flight at home, or will the Hornets sting them into submission? Find out in our free NBA picks and predictions for Hornets vs. Hawks.

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Hornets vs Hawks odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

The Hawks opened as 4.5-point favorites across the board on Sunday morning, and that line has largely held steady across a multitude of sportsbooks at the time of writing. The status of injured forward John Collins could change the spread prior to tip-off, although it remains unlikely Collins will suit up as he continues to deal with a sprained right finger and strained right foot.

The total opened at a robust 239.5, making it the highest point projection of any listed play-in game. It’s since gone down to a more reasonable 236.5 and has stayed parked at that number over the last 24 hours.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until tip-off and be sure to check out the full NBA odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Hornets vs Hawks predictions

Predictions made on 4/12/2022 at 10:08 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Hornets vs Hawks game info

Location: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
Date: Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET

Hornets vs Hawks betting preview

Key injuries

Hornets: Nick Richards C (Day-to-Day), Gordon Hayward SF (Out).
Hawks: Lou Williams SG (Day-to-Day), Chaundee Brown SF (Out), John Collins PF (Doubtful).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

Atlanta closed out the regular season by going 19-3 SU in its last 22 home games. Find more NBA betting trends for Hornets vs. Hawks.

Hornets vs Hawks picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

Although Atlanta only won 43 games during the regular season, the Hawks were a different beast at home. Nate McMillan’s crew went 27-14 SU within the friendly confines of State Farm Arena and were nearly unbeatable on their home court following the All-Star break, rattling off six straight wins after the league’s midseason classic.

Credit Atlanta’s world-class soul food if you like, as the Hawks averaged 5.5 more points per game and shot 2.4% better from the floor (and 1.6% better from beyond the arc) when playing in front of their own fans.

Those advantages are huge considering just how evenly matched the Hornets and Hawks are, both stylistically and statistically. In addition to being led by dynamic young guards, having a well-known propensity for scoring points in bunches, and finishing with identical 43-39 records, both teams were Top 4 in assist-to-turnover ratio and Top 6 in the league in 3-point percentage.

That was especially evident during their second meeting of the season on Dec. 5, when Charlotte eked out a 130-127 win in a game where both clubs shot nearly 46% from deep on 74 combined 3-point attempts. Miles Bridges led the way with 32 points, and seven other players scored 18 points or more.

It's unlikely we’ll see that kind of offensive explosion again on Wednesday as both teams shorten their rotations and pick up the intensity on defense, but it does illustrate just how close the Hornets and Hawks can be when both clubs are firing on all cylinders.

Given the similarities between the two clubs, the real difference-maker on Wednesday will be the familiar comforts of home. The Hawks are 23-18 against the spread at “The Highlight Factory” and 19-15 ATS as a home favorite — including covering in six straight home contests when laying the points. 

Expect those trends to hold steady in what should be an uncomfortably close game until the final frame.

Prediction: Hawks -4.5 (-110 at DraftKings)

Over/Under analysis

Much has been made of Charlotte and Atlanta’s ability to fill the basket, and rightfully so, as the two teams finished in the Top 8 in offensive rating and points per game. However, bettors should be leery of such an overinflated total, especially in a league where non-overtime games go Under 51.4% of the time.

The Hornets and Hawks combined to average just 226 ppg during their four meetings this season, and that number drops to 215 if you eliminate their Dec. 5 offensive explosion, plus the Under has cashed in six of the last seven head-to-head meetings overall.

Both teams will also likely be without key offensive contributors, which should keep the final score in check. The Hornets will have to solider on without Gordon Hayward, who averaged 15.9 points and 3.6 assists per game this season and consistently kept Charlotte’s offense humming with his selflessness and court spacing.

The Hawks, meanwhile, will likely be without John Collins, who averaged 16.2 points and 7.8 rebounds and dropped 31 points during the teams’ second showdown of the season. Atlanta will absolutely miss his ability to generate points in the paint, as Charlotte ranks a distant 20th in the critical category and 29th in second-chance points.

Consider, as well, that Atlanta didn’t always look like an offensive juggernaut in last year’s playoffs — even when Trae Young was available. The Hawks scored more than 107 points just once in their five-game first-round series against the New York Knicks and were held to 92 points in their lone loss in Game 2.

It may seem cliché, but things change when the playoffs arrive, especially in single-game elimination scenarios like Wednesday night. Lanes close up, shooters get tight, and defenses buckle down. Neither the Hornets nor Hawks are immune to these basic laws of postseason basketball, and the play-in pressure cooker should keep the final score just Under the projected total. 

Prediction: Under 236.5 (-110 at FanDuel)

Best bet

De’Andre Hunter often flies under the radar in Atlanta, as the 24-year-old small forward isn’t as flashy as Young or as explosive as Collins, but he’s absolutely integral to the Hawks’ success thanks to his ability to guard multiple positions — and light up the scoreboard when given the opportunity.

“Opportunity” is the keyword here, as Hunter will once again get plenty of looks while Collins rides the pine. The Virginia alum has averaged 14 ppg in Collins’ absence this year and is coming off an impressive 22-point performance against the Houston Rockets, in which he shot 7-for-13 and nailed all four of his 3-point attempts. Hunter also has an outstanding track record against the Hornets, scoring 20 points or more in each of his two appearances against Charlotte this year.

Young will be expected to do much of the heavy lifting on offense, but Hunter will be there to quietly — and efficiently — pitch in.

Pick: De’Andre Hunter Over 13.5 points (-120 at DraftKings)

NBA parlays

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