NBA Computer Picks March 17: Don’t Disrespect The Hawks Tonight


The top-rated sportsbooks have released their NBA odds for tonight’s action in the Association and three games, in particular, interest me:

  • Raptors vs. Magic
  • Nets vs. Spurs
  • Hawks vs. Clippers

For your best bets, I will recommend investing in the picks below. My recommendations are backed by OddsTrader’s Computer NBA picks and by my handicapping.

Picks Summary

  • Raptors-Magic Over 215.5 (-110)
  • Nets +1.5 (-110)
  • Hawks +10 (-110)

*All Odds available at Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)

Toronto Raptors vs. Orlando Magic

Sunday, March 17, 2024 – 06:00 PM ET at Kia Center

Our computers project a high-scoring game that soars past the total posted by oddsmakers.

I agree with this projection because both teams are primed to achieve high-scoring outputs: Orlando because the matchup favors its offense and Toronto because the situation suits them.

Orlando’s Offensive Preference

The Magic have indeed become a more efficient and productive offense behind the arc. They are shooting more efficiently from deep and making more three-point shots.

But their preference remains, by a significant margin, scoring at the basket. Orlando attempts the third-most field goals within five feet of the basket.

Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero are two Magic forwards who effectively score at the basket. Orlando’s guards also like attacking the basket, with Markelle Fultz being one example.

Banchero is comfortable executing in isolation or using a screen. Wagner is additionally difficult to guard because he ably draws fouls. Fultz is a threat with his characteristic quickness.

Toronto’s Rim Protection

Rim protection was a problem for Toronto last year, and it is a problem that they have not fixed. Toronto allows the seventh-highest field goal percentage within five feet of the basket.

It is unbelievable to me that center Kelly Olynyk, who bears much of the responsibility for Toronto’s defensive woes, is a starter in this league. He lacks the athleticism, the instinct and otherwise the ability to make a positive impact on defense.

Toronto’s Strong Situation

Whereas the matchup favors Orlando’s offense, the situation is strong for Toronto’s. This is because the Raptors’ offense tends to thrive in quick rematches.

In their last quick rematch, they scored 130 points against Indiana after facing them twelve days prior. In their second-to-last quick rematch, they improved their scoring output against Houston albeit only by a point.

But the trend is typically more blatant.

Computer Pick

Three quick rematches ago, they scored eight more points against Chicago than they did twelve days before.

If we can get any kind of improvement from Toronto after it scored 103 points yesterday, then the “over” will look extremely solid given Orlando’s outlook on offense.

The Raptors do succeed at fixing problems on offense for rematch situations.

NBA Pick: Over 215.5 (-110) at Bet365

Brooklyn Nets vs. San Antonio Spurs

Sunday, March 17, 2024 – 07:00 PM ET at Moody Center

Our computers project that the Nets will pull off what oddsmakers would have us interpret as an upset. I do not think that a Nets win tonight should be considered an upset, though.

San Antonio’s Perimeter Defense

San Antonio’s most talented defender is someone too small at 6’1 to be a good defender – I am speaking of point guard Tre Jones. But Jones is not the reason why the Spurs have improved on defense this year to a merely negligible extent.

Part of the reason is that they simply lack good defenders. Another part is that they have demonstrated an absurd tendency to collapse in the paint.

The Spurs are trying so hard to prevent layups that they often allow very favorable three-point opportunities.

They allow wide-open three-pointers with the seventh-highest frequency, attesting to their susceptibility to lapses on defense that opponents readily exploit.

Brooklyn’s Offense

Brooklyn will thrive today because it is well-built to exploit a porous perimeter defense like San Antonio’s

The Nets attempt the ninth-most threes. Starters Cam Thomas, Dennis Schroder, and Mikal Bridges are all weapons from behind the arc, with the recent acquisition of Schroder leading the group with his 48.1-percent three-point conversion rate.

San Antonio’s Scoring Struggles

In addition to its vulnerable perimeter defense and its bad defense in general, the Spurs are not a reliable favorite today because of their current form.

They enter today’s game on a three-game losing streak during which they have struggled to score.

A team total of 106 is their highest one in any of their last three games, with the result being that they lost even to a Houston team that struggled behind the arc.

NBA Pick: Nets +1.5 (-110) at Bet365

Atlanta Hawks vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Sunday, March 17, 2024 – 09:30 PM ET at Arena

Our computers indicate that the Hawks will hang with the Clippers tonight, covering the spread in the process.

I do think that oddsmakers are disrespecting the Hawks.

Clippers’ Perimeter Defense

To cover the large spread, the Clippers will have to play some defense, so that they win by enough points. But L.A. does not have the required reliability on defense.

The Clippers will show in games that they are capable of being good defensively but only for brief spurts.

Every team achieves this low standard, so it is not a promising sign for their defense that it succeeds for brief periods. For the majority of the time, they struggle with their rotations and with other aspects of defense.

As a result, they fail to do a good job at running teams off the three-point line.

They are especially bad at limiting good three-point opportunities. They allow the ninth-highest frequency of open three-point attempts.

Atlanta’s Offense

The Hawks have at least stayed within ten points of five of their last six opponents largely due to their three-point attack.

In their last game, they nearly won at Utah because they made 20 three-pointers.

This success can carry over into tonight’s game because they are a team that already likes to rely on shooting threes.

Led by guys like De’Andre Hunter, the Hawks attempt the eighth-most threes per game.

A strong output from deep appears especially likely from Atlanta tonight because it scored 144 points against L.A. in their last meeting primarily by making 20 three-pointers.

Too Much Of A Burden

L.A.’s vulnerable defense represents too much of a burden for its endeavor to cover the spread.

The Clippers have failed to exceed 120 points in six of their last eight games, although they’d likely need to exceed 130 points to score enough against Atlanta to cover the spread.

NBA Pick: Hawks +10 (-110) at Bet365

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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