Hawks vs. Heat Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
This is an important mini-series between these teams, as the Heat lead the Hawks by a half-game for the division lead. These teams have split the two previous matchups this season, with both games being played in Atlanta.
Both teams are playing in the second leg of a back-to-back after playing on Friday night. The Hawks got a comfortable 129-111 home win over the Trail Blazers, but the Heat suffered a devastating 122-120 home loss to the Knicks.
Which team has the edge tonight? Find a betting preview and prediction for Hawks vs. Heat below.
If the Hawks win on Saturday night, it will be because they take advantage of the open 3-point opportunities that the Heat defense is designed to give up.
The Heat defense has allowed opponents to take the second-most 3-point shots (39.9% of shots) this season. This is nothing new, as the Heat’s defense has ranked among the bottom four teams each of the last four seasons in 3-point Frequency Allowed, per Cleaning The Glass. However, the Heat went from ranking first in 3-point Accuracy Allowed last season (34.1%) to 22nd this season (37.2%).
The Hawks don’t take a ton of 3s, ranking 29th in 3-point Shot Frequency (30.1%), as they have dropped from third in 3-point Accuracy last season (37.8%) to 22nd this season (35.4%). Players like Bogdan Bogdanovic, Dejounte Murray, Trae Young and DeAndre Hunter will need to take advantage of their open looks tonight.
If the Heat win and cover tonight, it will be because they put together a more focused defensive effort early on and take advantage of their open 3-point opportunities.
After beating the 76ers on Monday night in a nationally televised game, the Heat looked uninspired to start their next two games against the Joel Embiid-less 76ers and the Knicks, as they gave up exactly 71 first-half points in consecutive games. The Heat rank fifth in Defensive Rating (112.3) this season but need a more focused effort to start the first half on Saturday against the Hawks.
After leading the league in 3-point accuracy last season at 38.6% (excluding garbage time and heaves, per Cleaning The Glass, the Heat have fallen all the way to 28th in 3-point accuracy this season at just 33.7%. This has been a big reason why the Heat’s offense has fallen from 11th in Offensive Rating (114.2) last season to 25th this year (111.8).
In the last matchup between these teams on January 16th, the Heat came out flat and allowed the Hawks to take a 70-50 halftime lead before playing a more competitive second half. After similar showings in their last two losses, this sets up for a bounce-back spot for what should be a motivated Heat team with a rest advantage at home.
After hearing the way the Heat talked after their loss on Friday night in postgame media availability, I’d be surprised if they don’t come out with a strong and more concerted effort, especially defensively.
A big concern, however, for the Heat has been managing the non-Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo minutes, as they have gotten dominated in the last two games without them. If you are looking to back the Hawks in this game, I’d do it when Butler and Adebayo share their first simultaneous minutes on the bench together.
Against Philly on Wednesday, there were 6 minutes in that first half with Butler and Bam off the floor
Heat gave up 24 points in that span
Last night, there were 6 minutes in the entire game where both were off the floor
Heat gave up 17 points
-21 NET rating in 5 games
— Brady Hawk (@BradyHawk305) March 4, 2023
Nonetheless, I’ll take the Heat first-quarter moneyline here at -128 on FanDuel in what should be a favorable spot for the Heat after being embarrassed in consecutive first halves and having a bad taste in their mouths after Friday’s loss to the Knicks.
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