After taking the league by storm and making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, the Hawks will no longer be slept on entering the 2021-2022 campaign. In fact, one of the most popular bets in Vegas is the Hawks over 47.5 wins. However, how does FiveThirtyEight view the Hawks season going? Let’s take a look.
For those of you who don’t know, FiveThirtyEight is an advanced analytics website that has created its own formulas to forecast events in the NBA. Here is exactly how their results are determined.
The initial version of the projections used an alternative version of RAPTOR called PREDATOR,1 which down-weighted “lucky” events like opponent 3-point shooting in order to be more predictive. But testing before the 2020-21 season found that RAPTOR outperformed PREDATOR, so RAPTOR was used for both the player projections and the team forecasts. That change has been made permanent, as have two others: the blending of a team’s Elo rating with RAPTOR’s talent metric (based on the RAPTOR projections of the players in its rotation, adjusting for injury), with Elo weighted by how much of it was built up by players currently on the roster; and the slowing-down of in-season talent adjustments for players who have logged fewer than 1,000 regular-season or 750 playoff minutes. However, the full version of our home-court advantage adjustment has been restored after it was docked to 75 percent for last season when games were played in front of reduced-capacity crowds (or no crowds at all).
FiveThirtyEight expects the Hawks to pick up right where they left off. They only project two teams — the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers — to finish ahead of Atlanta in the Eastern Conference standings, who they have finishing the season with 51 wins and 31 losses. That would be perfectly fine for over bettors, and I imagine Hawks fans would be pretty pleased with that as well.
However, as far as championship odds go, FiveThirtyEight has four teams in the East with better championship odds than the Hawks. On top of Milwaukee and Philadelphia, they believe Boston and Brooklyn are more likely to hold up the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the year. Still, FiveThirtyEight believes the Hawks are legitimate Eastern Conference contenders, giving them a ten percent chance to win the East and a four percent shot to win it all.
Thanks for reading this article on the Hawks championship odds for the upcoming season. If you liked this article, make sure to check out Alex Lord’s piece on Kevin Huerter’s recent contract extension.