Atlanta Hawks (10) vs. Chicago Bulls (9) Play-In Prediction, NBA Odds

Edgar Chaput | Updated Apr 16, 2024

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Atlanta Hawks

The second night of the play-in tournament concludes when Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks land in Chicago to face DeMar DeRozan and the Bulls.

April 17, 2024, 9:30 PM ET
United Center
Pointspread +3.5 -115
Moneyline +125
Over / Under o +222.5
Pointspread -3.5 -105
Moneyline -155
Over / Under u +222.5

The NBA play-in tournament has added some excitement to the postseason format and the games are fun to watch, but the risk incurred are situations like this one. The Eastern Conference is, generally, not quite as strong as the West. A 10 vs. 9 play-in game is going to feature teams with mediocre records. Is it crazy that the Atlanta Hawks, who are 36-46, could be a playoff team? Yes, but it is what it is.

The host Bulls are favoured, albeit slightly, at -3.5 on the NBA odds.

Hawks (10) vs. Bulls (9) NBA Betting Odds

The Hawks and Bulls rumbled thrice this past season, with the Illinois-based outfit claiming two of those games. They also won as the road team once, with Atlanta defending home court most recently on April 1.

Both of these sides are coming in with a slew of banged-up and missing players. Atlanta might not have Seth Lundy (ankle) nor Wesley Matthews (hamstring). We know that both Onyeka Okongwu (toe) and Jalen Johnson (ankle) are definitely out. Saddiq Bey (ACL) has been gone since late March. At least Trae Young is back. His presence didn’t stop the losing slide at the end of the campaign, which is now at six games. Not a whole to be impressed about vis-à-vis the spread here, as Atlanta only went 29-53 this season.

Are the Bulls a significantly better team? Not necessarily but at least they showed a few more bursts of energy this year. That being said, they too are riddled with injuries. Ayo Dosunmu (quad), Andre Drummond (ankle), Julian Phillips (foot) might all miss this game. As we know, Lonzo Ball is out for the year. Inconsistency is the modus operandi for a team that finished 39-43. They didn’t string together a significant winning streak outright or versus the spread this season, ergo the 41-40-1 ATS tally.

Atlanta Hawks (10)

There was a fascinating article over at The Athletic earlier this season, right around the trade deadline, that highlighted how little the Atlanta Hawks management has done to improve the roster. It is largely last year’s team, and last year’s was average at best, poor at worst.

Consider that Atlanta has a play-in ticket as the 28th ranked defence (120.5 points). Incidentally enough, they are also exactly 28th in overall opponent field goal efficiency and three-point shooting. Young has only been back for a few games, so one wonders if there is still rust to shave off – a bad time for that to be the case. Dejounte Murray had a solid season (22.5 points, 6.4 assists, 5.3 boards), and Bogdan Bogdanovic is a nice third option (16.9 points). Clint Capela is their main guy around the rim (11.5).

There is no doubt this team can score (118.3, fifth league-wide) but they’re so bad on defence it almost doesn’t matter. Otherwise they wouldn’t be 10 games under .500.

Chicago Bulls (9)

We just talked about how passive Hawks management has been lately, yet the same can be said about the Bulls’ managerial maneuvering. This 2023-24 play-in squad doesn’t differ much from the one that was in the same spot 12 months ago. This time DeMar DeRozan doesn’t have a road game in Toronto to get hyped up for.

We kid, of course. DeRozan is the undisputed offensive machine (24.0 points) on a team that is, by and large, mediocre when attacking (22nd with 112.3 points on average). Watch out for Coby White, who had a breakout season of sorts, averaging 19.1 points a game, far and away his best numbers. Nikola Vucevic is dependable in the paint (18.0 points, 10.5 boards) and Alex Caruso is a little spark plug, with 1.7 steals a game.

If anything can trip up the Bulls, it is their propensity to stall on offence. Atlanta’s defence is atrocious, but somebody still has to put the ball through the hoop.

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