NBA Game Preview: Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat

Apr 11, 2023

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Game: Atlanta Hawks @ Miami Heat

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Odds: Hawks +4.5, Heat -4.5

Total: 226.5

There are analysts who believe that of the first four games in the play-in tournament, the Hawks have the best chance of pulling off the upset. That doesn’t really make too much sense since Atlanta has not fared well against the Heat or on the road this season. In fact, in the Hawks’ last seven trips to South Beach, they have lost each time. In the last six games overall with Miami, Atlanta is just 1-5 SU.

The Hawks’ road performance this season was rather unimpressive. For the season, Atlanta went 17-24 SU away from home. The Hawks finished the season with just one win in their final five road games. At home, the Hawks were a much more respectable 24-17. Unfortunately, tonight they must tangle with a Heat team that has won four of its last five games.

With three games separating the two teams at the end of the regular season, Miami won the division title ahead of the Hawks. The Heat prevailed in three of the four meetings this season, and Jimmy Butler is undoubtedly to blame for that. In three games against Atlanta, he averaged 25 points, eight rebounds, and 6.3 assists while shooting over 63% from the field. Butler seems to rise to the occasion when the stakes are high and he will play a huge role in tonight’s outcome.

The Heat have also been stellar at home this season. Miami went 27-14 at the Kaseya Center. They were not that strong against the number at home though going just 14-25-2 ATS. The good news for either Miami or Atlanta is that even if they lose tonight they still have another shot at earning a playoff spot.

Tonight’s winner will become the seventh seed in the postseason. That means they will draw the Boston Celtics, the No. 2 seed. Miami would love to face Boston in Round 1 after splitting the season series with the Celtics. Tonight’s loser will have to play the winner of the No. 9-No.10 game for a chance to earn the No. 8 seed.

The Hawks went 2-6 ATS over their final eight games of the regular season. Miami went 3-2 ATS in its final five. With the importance of this game, look for the pace to slow down. Don’t forget, Miami is one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. The Heat finished the regular season ranked No. 2 in points allowed per game (109.8). In eight of the last 10 Hawks-Heat games, the Under has hit eight times. Those ten games averaged a combined total of 217.8.

Tonight’s total of 226.5 seems a little high, especially since the Heat have held Hawks star Trae Young to 40 percent shooting in 17 career games. Plus, the Hawks shoot the third-fewest three-pointers in the NBA. Interestingly, the Over went 5-0 in each of Miami’s and Atlanta’s last five regular season games.

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