Another NBA season has come and gone and now the league shifts its focus towards the NBA Playoffs. Starting with the recently formed play-in tournament, the Atlanta Hawks Vs. Miami Heat kicks things off as the respected eighth and seventh seed of the Eastern Conference. Winner moves on while the loser gets one more chance against either the Chicago Bulls or Toronto Raptors. The Heat get the nod as a -5 favorite on their home court, but anything can happen in a one game scenario.
Atlanta Hawks vs Miami Heat Prediction
The Hawks shooting woes are in a position to once again struggle as the Heat’s defense is one of the more efficient units in the league. They slightly dipped down from their top-5 position yet are still ninth overall and excel at disrupting opposing offenses’ rhythm. They are a havoc minded unit with one of the best on-ball defenders in Jimmy Butler, getting the benefit of being able to shift him around to slow down whoever they need to limit in order to exceed.
In regard to this matchup, it may be a more fluid option as the Hawks have intriguing scoring options all over their starting lineup. The Heat also need to help mask Tyler Herro’s weak perimeter defense, potentially shading Butler more towards Herro for some help side defense. That would create more perimeter doubles, rattling the Hawks in their efforts to generate havoc and limit their scoring opportunities.
Should the Heat opt into playing more straight up, we may see them sag towards the middle to make up for their lack of size. Bam Adebayo plays as a true big man, but the Heat take a massive drop off in size after him. Strus plays as a stretch forward and Caleb Martin is undersized at forward. The Hawks patrol two bigs down low with the uber-athletic John Collins hunting for lobs and Clint Capela backing down opposing big men. By limiting the passing lanes down low, Miami will dare Atlanta to beat them from the perimeter. An area they finished 21st in by shooting a lowly 35.2%.
Hawks Vs Heat Prediction & Best Bet: Under 226.5
Atlanta Hawks vs Miami Heat Betting Odds
As previously mentioned, oddsmakers give the nod to the Heat on their home court as they opened Miami as a -5 favorite. Bettors slightly disagree, taking the Hawks down to +4.5 in some shops. The Hawks get the advantage of going against an anemic Miami offense as their defense has been below average in defensive efficiency. Is it enough to slow them down and potentially get the upset victory? I’m bullish, but my wagering interests lie elsewhere.
Speaking of wagering interests, my attention is geared towards the total. Oddsmakers believe points will be scored at a moderate pace, setting the total at 227.5. Bettors have been leaning towards the under, taking it down to as low as 226.5 as of writing. Both units’ identities play towards the under as Miami has serious offensive issues while the Hawks have struggled to find consistent shooting success at all three levels of the offense. Especially from deep, uncharacteristically dropping off from last year’s numbers.
- Hawks are 3-8 ATS in the last 11 meetings in Miami
- Under is 36-16 in the last 52 meetings in Miami
- Under is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings overall against each other
Can the Heat find scoring success against the Hawks interior defense?
Heat interior scoring Vs. Hawks interior defense
It’s been an issue that has plagued the Heat’s offense for years and is once again back to bite them as Miami lacks a true perimeter presence. Because of this, they have relied more on interior scoring as Butler gashes the middle and Adebayo plays off the block.
That slows down their scoring output, playing more towards the under. The Hawks are a weak defensive unit with a 22nd ranked Defensive Efficiency rating but excel at limiting looks at the rim with their bigs anchoring the paint.
That forces the Heat to find more success at the mid-range, limiting their own quality of shot selections in our favor. The Heat’s potential uptick in low quality scoring looks is a key factor towards my Atlanta Vs. Miami under prediction.
— Daily NBA Fantasy (@DailyNBAFantasy) April 9, 2023
Take the under at no lower than 225.5 as Miami will be unable to take advantage of a weak Atlanta defense while also limiting their scoring production on the other end.
Atlanta Hawks Starting Lineup
Miami Heat Starting Lineups
Atlanta Hawks Injuries: N/A
Miami Heat Injuries: Nikola Jovic (O)