The opening week of the 2021-22 NBA season brings an exciting non-conference clash Thursday, October 21, as the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks lock horns at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. Both teams will take the floor for the first time this season, and the Mavs will search for their third straight victory over the Hawks.
According to Bovada Sportsbook, the Mavericks are small 2.5-point road underdogs with a total of 224.5 points. Dallas sits at +120 moneyline odds, while Atlanta is a -140 fave to win straight up.
The Mavericks need more from Kristaps Porzingis
The Dallas Mavericks went 42-30 last regular season and finished fifth in the West. The 2021 NBA Playoffs brought another disappointment to the Mavs’ fans, as their beloved team lost to the LA Clippers in the first round for the second straight year. Dallas blew a 3-2 lead, and Luka Doncic didn’t get enough support from his teammates.
Doncic had 46 points in Game 7, averaging 35.7 points and 10.3 assists throughout the series. Kristaps Porzingis was tallying only 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds a night in the playoffs, and the Mavericks desperately need KP6 to find his top form in 2021-22. Porzingis appeared in 43 games this past regular season and averaged 20.1 points and 8.9 boards per contest.
The Mavericks are going into the new season in full strength. In the offseason, they decided to move on from Jason Richardson and acquired Reggie Bullock to bolster their 3-point shooting. The Mavs have a new head coach, too, as Jason Kidd succeeds Rick Carlisle, who left the club after 13 years to join the Pacers.
The Hawks look to stay on the right track
The Atlanta Hawks returned to the postseason in 2021 to snap a three-year drought. They went 41-31 in the regular season and won the Southeast Division for the first time since 2015. The Hawks surprisingly reached the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals, outlasting New York and Philadelphia along the way, but they couldn’t get past the Milwaukee Bucks.
Atlanta did a great job in the offseason. The Hawks resigned John Collins and Lou Williams, while Delon Wright arrived from Sacramento in a three-team trade. Also, the Hawks retained Nate McMillan as their permanent head coach.
Listed at +1800 to win the East, the Hawks enter the new season with their win total at 47.5 games. McMillan cannot count on Onyeka Okongwu (shoulder), but all other guys are ready to go, and the Hawks’ great depth at all positions should be a decisive factor in the playoff race. Trae Young will continue to lead the way after averaging 25.3 points and 9.4 assists last regular season, but don’t forget about Clint Capela, John Collins, Kevin Huerter, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Danilo Gallinari.
- 1-4 ATS in the last five games overall
- 3-12 ATS in the last 15 games against Atlanta
- 14-3 ATS in the last 17 outings at home as favorites
- 7-1 ATS in the last eight games against the Western Conference
Dallas Mavericks vs. Atlanta Hawks Pick
Dallas swept Atlanta in 2020-21, winning 122-116 as a 2-point road fave and 118-117 as a 3.5-point home fave, while Luka Doncic dominated the Hawks. I’m looking for Atlanta to get revenge Thursday, though this game could easily go either way.
The Hawks have improved a lot since those two losses to the Mavs that came in February. They’ve played solid defense in the postseason, allowing 107.8 points per game on 45.8% shooting from the field and 35.1% from downtown. I’ve already mentioned the Hawks’ depth which is another reason why I’m going with the hosts here.
Pick: Take Atlanta Hawks -2.5 at -110
Both last season’s duels between Dallas and Atlanta went in the over, producing way more than 224 points in total each. The Hawks finished the previous regular season with the eighth-best offensive rating in the NBA, tallying 115.7 points per 100 possessions, while the Mavs were right behind with 115.4 points per 100 possessions.
Neither team prefers to play at a fast pace, but they should execute well offensively against each other and produce another high-scoring affair.
Pick: Go over 224.5 points at -110