Hawks vs. Heat Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
The Atlanta Hawks (32-32, 14-19 on the road) face the Miami Heat (34-31, 20-12 at home) in the second matchup of a two-game miniseries between these two teams in Miami on Monday night. The Heat took a 2-1 season series lead with Saturday’s 117-109 win. Their Southeast Division lead over the Hawks grew to 1.5 games as they guaranteed themselves at least a split of the four-game regular season series.
These teams are not only battling for the division lead, but the Heat also hold the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference over the Hawks as both teams could still rise to the sixth seed and avoid the dreaded Play-in Tournament.
Find a betting pick and prediction for Hawks vs. Heat below.
If the Hawks cover or win outright, they need to shoot better on 3s and get better performances from their star guards.
The Miami defense has given up the second-most 3-point attempts (39.8% 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’s variance luck has taken a turn for the worse as they went from ranking first in 3-point Accuracy Allowed last season (34.1%) to 21st this season (37.1%).
The Hawks don’t take a ton of 3s — 29th in 3-point Shot Frequency (30.1%) this season — and they have dropped from third in 3-point Accuracy last season (37.8%) to 22nd this season (35.3%). The Hawks lost the math battle in the game Saturday, hitting just nine of their 30 3-pointers (30%) while Miami shot 13-of-35 (37.1%) from downtown. The Hawks struggled on Saturday as their star guards Trae Young (eight points on 2-of-13 shooting, 0-of-5 on 3s) and Dejounte Murray (10 points on 3-of-14 shooting, 0-of-5 on 3s) could not convert their looks from beyond the arc.
What will new Hawks coach Quin Snyder have up his sleeve to get a better showing from his star ball handlers?
After giving up exactly 71 points at halftime in each of their previous games, the Heat held the Hawks to 49 first-half points Saturday. If the Heat win and cover, they need to have a similar defensive intensity for 48 minutes as they have been prone to lapses this season.
The Hawks have the better halfcourt offense than the Heat, so playing stout defense and generating transition opportunities will be key for Miami in this matchup. Kevin Love’s addition to the rotation is still a work in progress, but his outlet passing has already helped get the Heat easier looks in transition.
I’m also expecting a bigger night from Jimmy Butler on Monday. Bam Adebayo led the Heat in scoring on Saturday, but the Heat were playing on the second leg of a back-to-back after a physical, heartbreaking loss to the Knicks in which Butler scored a team-high 33 points while making 18-of-20 free throws. Butler attempted just four free throws Saturday as he attempted just eight field goals (and made five) en route to scoring 15 points. I’m expecting Butler to be more aggressive after a day off against the Hawks this time around.
In last year’s first round of the NBA Playoffs, Butler averaged 43.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists in the four games he played. While I’m not expecting Playoff Butler tonight, I’m expecting “Jimmy Buckets” to be more locked in than in a normal regular season game with this matchup carrying significant playoff positioning ramifications.
I’m expecting this to be a competitive game that comes down to the wire, and that means that Butler will likely have the ball in his hands more often down the stretch, similar to how the Heat play in the postseason. His Points + Rebounds + Assists prop is set at 34.5 tonight, and I like his chances of exceeding that tonight.
With the last game between these teams being the second leg of a back-to-back, I’ll gladly utilize this as a buy-low opportunity on Butler’s PRA line, especially with him being used more heavily as a facilitator in Kyle Lowry’s absence.
I like Butler’s PRA prop because can hit in a variety of ways regardless of which way the Hawks try to defend him, although I also lean toward him to finish with over 5.5 assists at +108.
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