Heat Battle Hawks for Second Night in a Row as the Playoffs Loom

Troy Haliburton

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 2:26 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 4, 2018 2:26 PM UTC

Miami has finally clinched their playoff berth, but do they really want to keep winning to match up with LeBron James in the first round. The Hawks are in full “tank” mode and will stop at nothing to make sure they lose as many games as possible. This seems like an opportune moment for bettors to capitalize on.

Miami Heat (38-34-6 ATS) vs Atlanta Hawks (37-38-3 ATS)

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Free NBA Pick: Heat -7Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

The Miami Heat clinched their playoff berth in a comeback victory against the same Atlanta Hawk team that they will face tonight. Miami won that game 101-98 after being down seven points with under three minutes to go. For a brief second, it looked as if the two teams would be trying to out “tank” each other as the Hawks have absolutely no incentive to win, as they are vying for a top draft pick in the upcoming draft. The Heat could have been tanking to avoid moving up to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference in front of the Washington Wizards. The sixth seed right now in the East is a dreaded spot because it leaves whoever finishes there matched up with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. Cleveland has gone to three straight NBA Finals and LeBron James has never lost in the first round of the playoffs.

After cutting it super close and almost winning the game yesterday, expect the Hawks to not put forth the same type of effort in tonight’s game. One of the better players on the Hawks is forward Taurean Prince, who is having a good season for a third-year player, but the Hawks did not see a need to play him at all in the second half against the Heat despite only having seven players available to play. Mike Budenholzer is a smart guy and he will balance trying to work his players and make his team better for the future, while also making sure that the team does not win and mess up any chances they have at securing a better lottery slot.

The Hawks do have some young talent and that is the reason why the game against Miami was so close last night. Rookie John Collins scored 19 points and grabbed 0 boards as he outplayed the Heat’s, Hassan Whiteside. The Heat center has struggled of late and expressed his frustration with his lack of playing time at the end of games over the weekend. It may be a harsh reality to Whiteside, but the game is changing and there is very little room for lumbering big men who can’t defend smaller players.

Miami is a fantastic team on the road when it comes to covering spreads. On the season, the Heat are 22-14-2 ATS on the road, ranking fifth in the entire NBA. Conversely, the Hawks are just 19-20 ATS in home games this season. Atlanta has struggled all season to stay competitive in lots of games in their near empty downtown arena.

How the Heat will dominate this game will largely depend on Goran Dragic being able to get it going again as he did last night. Dragic leads the Heat with 23 points last night as he is rounding into form heading into the postseason. Smart bettors will wager on the fact that the Hawks don’t want to put themselves in a position such as last night and have to sweat out a lost. This game should be over very early on, and the Heat should easily cover.

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