Hawks vs Lakers: Prediction & Betting Tips | Mar 18, 2024

NBA Playoff Race Heats Up with Crucial Matchup

by Nouman Rasool
Hawks vs Lakers: Prediction & Betting Tips | Mar 18, 2024
© Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are gearing up for a crucial showdown against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night, with playoff aspirations hanging in the balance. With just 14 games remaining in the regular season, every win is vital for the Lakers to secure a direct playoff berth and avoid the Play-In Tournament.

Recent setbacks against the Sacramento Kings and the Golden State Warriors have put the Lakers under pressure, compounded by the possible absence of star player Anthony Davis due to injury. Their need for a victory against the Hawks is paramount to revive their playoff hopes.

Hawks' Playoff Push

On the other side of the court, the Atlanta Hawks are facing a similar scenario. Despite sitting comfortably in the 10th spot in the standings, they are also aiming to bolster their playoff positioning.

While coming off a recent victory over the LA Clippers, the Hawks suffered a defeat against the Utah Jazz, highlighting their inconsistency. Unlike the Lakers, who are entrenched in a tough Western Conference battle, the Hawks have a clearer path to the Play-In Tournament with a record of 30-37.

However, their defensive vulnerabilities, ranking 28th in defending the three-point line and 18th in defending the paint, could prove to be their downfall against the Lakers. In terms of betting odds, the Lakers are favored by 8.5 points with a moneyline of -377, while the Hawks sit at +300.

The total points over/under is set at 227.5. Key players to watch in this matchup include LeBron James for the Lakers, who is averaging 25.5 points per game and is coming off a stellar 40-point performance against the Warriors.

For the Hawks, Dejounte Murray carries significant offensive responsibility with an over/under of 25.5 points. In terms of lineup projections, both teams are expected to field their regular starters, with potential adjustments due to injuries.

While Davis and James are listed as questionable for the Lakers, the Hawks will likely be without several key players, including Trae Young. Overall, the Lakers hold the upper hand in this matchup, boasting a favorable record against the Hawks in recent encounters.

With home-court advantage and the Hawks' defensive struggles in mind, the Lakers are poised to extend their winning streak against their Eastern Conference opponents.

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