Posted on: December 28, 2022, 11:52h. 

Last updated on: December 28, 2022, 02:32h.

The Brooklyn Nets head into Atlanta tonight to face a Hawks team with big-time issues. They are coming off a 15-point road loss to the Indiana Pacers last night, they just fired team president and former general manager Travis Schlenk, and they are a .500 team that has trade rumors swirling around it.

The No. 1 trade insider in the NBA media is Shams Charania, who was mentored by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, a veteran NBA writer who rarely writes anymore and goes on ESPN to offer injury updates. Woj has not been the same since getting the 2022 draft order wrong, leading to craziness in the sports gambling world.

And Shams dropped this on the Twitterverse yesterday:

How Does That Impact the Brooklyn Nets?

Generally, when you go up against a team that has trade rumors swirling around it, that team’s collective head is not in the right place. And so that is what we should expect from the Hawks tonight as they try to end Brooklyn’s nine-game winning streak. It’s the longest in the league right now, and the Nets’ biggest since they moved to Brooklyn a decade ago. Brooklyn is third in the East at 22-12, just 2 1/2 games behind Boston for the No. 1 seed in the East (along with the Atlantic Division title).

Brooklyn is favored by 5 1/2, and they have covered the spread in six of their last seven games. They are nowhere near catching Portland and Oklahoma City for the best against the spread (ATS) record (21-13-0). But it is the “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” things that gamblers need to watch.

Nine days ago, we told you to keep a close eye on the Nets at +750. Today, they are at +250 to win the Atlantic.

RELATED: Nets at +750 to win Atlantic Division is not a bad bet

What is a Good Wagering Strategy For Tonight?

The Hawks have not defeated a quality opponent since beating Denver on Dec. 2. They are 7-3 on Nov. 7 and are 10-14 since. Nobody on their roster has played all 34 games, with Bogdan Bogdanovic missing 24. Schlenk was known in NBA circles as an analytics guy, and several folks fled that organization because the analytics guys had too much power in the front office. That was told to this writer in confidence by a guy who used to work there in a high-ranking position.

Atlanta needs a shake-up, and tonight in the locker room before the game, they will all be staring at each other wondering who is on the way out. Jason Kidd, when he was playing, always said “Keep an extra bag packed just in case. In this league, you never know.”

That all adds up to a lot of uncertainty, and the Nets should be able to pounce. They are getting terrific defense from Ben Simmons, whether he is guarding centers, forwards, or guards, coach Jacque Vaughn has gone back to giving big minutes to key off-season acquisition Royce O’Neale, and they have a bevy of 3-point shooters in Kyrie Irving, Durant, Seth Curry, Joe Harris and Yuta Watanabe. If they can find a center to lighten Nick Claxton’s load, they have a championship-caliber roster.

For tonight’s game against Atlanta, DraftKings Sportsbook has six same-game Nets-Hawks parlays. The lowest priced is +215 for the Nets moneyline, Durant 30+ points, and Irving 20+ points. The highest is+1800 for Nets -5 1/2, plus double-doubles for Durant (who has two) and and Simmons (who has three.)

Brooklyn is now the +600 second choice to win the NBA championship, trailing only the Celtics (+360), having moved ahead of the Bucks (+650). So the oddsmakers are onto these guys, who put all of their drama behind them back in November. And remember, what your team looks like in April is what matters. Right now, teams are moving through the 82-game slog of a regular season.

How to Approach Tonight’s Game Against The Hawks

Atlanta goes over 58.5% of the time, the third-highest percentage in the NBA. But Clint Capela (calf strain) and Trae Young (calf contusion) are questionable, and those are their two best players. This should open things up for Nicolas Claxton, but also could force coach Jacque Vaughn to play small. Durant and Irving each scored 32 against the Cavs two nights ago, and both are hot. And so …

The Nets have won by 30, 18, and 8 in their last three games, and they defeated Atlanta by 4 the last time the teams played. Because they are playing better than any team in the NBA right now, perhaps you should expect a blowout?

The Nets have had three of them, defeating Golden State by 30, New York by 27, and Washington by 42. We should probably count Friday’s 18-point win over the Bucks in that category, too, because they are the Bucks, after all

If you like that line of thinking, DraftKings offers an alternate point spread of Brooklyn -12 1/2 at +245.

In the futures markets (New York bettors must cross state lines for these wagers), Simmons is +8500 for Defensive Player of the Year at FanDuel, and +8000 at BetMGM, and coach Vaughn is +500 for Coach of the Year at BetMGM and +400 at Bet365. He as +1200 a week ago. And then we have the MVP race, where KD is +1000 and cannot be dismissed. At age 34, Durant has also played in 33 of Brooklyn’s 34 games, and is third in the NBA in minutes.

There is a lot of season left, and the Nets are playing better than anyone. “Get ’em while they’re hot does not just refer to tamales. And Durant and his team, along with Durant’s wit, are all hot.