Hawks vs. Heat Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Atlanta ended the regular season having lost two straight games to the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics. The loss to the Celtics didn’t mean as much as neither team played its stars, but Hawks lost to 76ers on a night where the Hawks were at full strength and the 76ers sat their top-six rotations players.
On the other hand, the Heat finished their regular strong, winning four of their last five games.
Miami did have the good fortune of a weak schedule down the stretch, but that may not mean much in this matchup as the Heat are 3-1 in the season series against the Hawks. Let’s dive into the matchup and make a betting pick for the Atlanta Hawks vs Miami Heat.
The Hawks have all the offensive talent in the world, led by Trae Young’s 26.2 points per game. Newcomer Dejounte Murray contributed with 20.5 points per game of his own, and then six other Hawks players scored at least 9.9 points per game during the regular season.
However, the reason Atlanta finds itself in the Play-In Tournament is because it had loads of trouble matching that offensive production on the defensive end.
According to NBA Advanced Stats, Atlanta owns a 115.4 Defensive Rating after 82 games, ranking the Hawks 22nd in the NBA. As the road team, which Atlanta is in this matchup, that rating rises even further 117.4.
The inability to defend is what led to Atlanta’s failure to climb the Eastern Conference standings down the stretch. Over the final 15 games the Hawks posted the sixth-worst Defensive Rating (118.5), allowing opponents to shoot 50.8% overall and 37.8% from behind the arc, per NBA Advanced Stats. Despite a 119.1 Offensive Rating in those same 15 games, Atlanta went just 7-8 overall.
The end of March was not a great stretch of basketball for the Heat, forcing them to play some catch up at the end of the season.
Miami closed out March losing its last three games, failing to score above 100 points in each of those three matchups. As a result the Heat owned an Offensive Rating of 104.4 in that three-game stretch, the third-lowest in the NBA ahead of only the San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers.
However, we immediately saw Miami turn things around offensively once the calendar flipped to April, giving the Heat plenty of momentum entering the postseason.
As previously mentioned Miami went 4-1 in its last five games, seeing its Offensive Rating spike to 123.4 in that time. That rise can be attributed to Miami shooting 37.9% from beyond the arc, up from its season percentage of 34.4%.
The Heat have also shot above 50% in the last five games, leading to an average of 121.4 points per game since April 1. That is huge for a team that ranked 30th in points per game during the regular season (109.5).
Miami is the superior team in this matchup, finishing the regular season three games ahead of Atlanta. However, the over is something that catches my eye in this one.
We’ve already discussed Atlanta’s inability to defend, but Miami is heading in a similar direction. According to NBA Advanced Stats, the Heat owned the fifth-best Defensive Rating prior to the All-Star break, but ranked 22nd in the same category post All-Star Break with a rating of 117.1.
Additionally, the season series between the Hawks and Heat and was rather high-scoring, with three matchups seeing a total of at least 226 points. Two of those matchups saw the point total cross 233.
The final five games of the regular season for the Hawks saw an average point total of 248.2, and in that same five-game span we saw an average point total of 231.8 in Heat games. I expect the high-scoring trend to carry over into the postseason, and I would play this total to 229.5.