NBA Picks: Take Offensive Minded Hawks Against Depleted Heat

Jason Lake

Friday, February 19, 2016 5:48 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 5:48 PM UTC

After choosing not to blow up their team, the Atlanta Hawks are heavy favorites on Friday's NBA odds board for their matchup with the wounded Miami Heat.

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NBA Pick: Hawks -8.5
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


Jason's 2015-16 record as of Feb. 18: 21-25-1 ATS, 5-1-1 Total


Rest easy, Atlanta Hawks fans: You get at least one more playoff run, provided your team makes it in. The Hawks (31-24 SU, 27-27-1 ATS) were rumored to be shopping two of their Big Three before Thursday's trade deadline, but in the end, they only made a couple of minor deals. That should keep Atlanta firmly in the driver's seat in the Southeast Division.

That's because the Miami Heat (29-24 SU, 26-26-1 ATS) also contented themselves with a few tweaks here and there. Their season is in jeopardy after Chris Bosh was put back on blood thinners; he's not with the team for Friday's matchup (8:00 p.m. ET) in Atlanta. Hassan Whiteside won't be playing, either. That leaves the Hawks laying 9.5 points on the NBA odds board as we go to press.


Rule of Thirds
It looks like the Hawks are all-in this year. They're sticking with center Al Horford (19.8 PER, +3.7 BPM), even though he's an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and will no doubt command a giant contract under the new, higher salary cap. Atlanta also held onto PG Jeff Teague (17.2 PER, –0.8 BPM), who's got one more year to go before hitting the open market. The Hawks were reportedly asking a very high price for either commodity.

So they swung a pair of smaller deals instead. Much smaller. In fact, we're being told these deals got mushed together in a three-way. No. 3 point guard Shelvin Mack (15.8 PER, –3.4 BPM) is going to the Utah Jazz; he's being replaced by third-string PG Kirk Hinrich (7.5 PER, –3.0 BPM), who rejoins the club after three-plus seasons with the Chicago Bulls. Business as usual in Atlanta, in other words.


Bionic Elbow
The Heat did some roster trimming at the deadline to put themselves under the luxury tax. Gone are center Chris Andersen (to Memphis) and PF Jarnell Stokes (to New Orleans), neither of whom played much for Miami this year. But this does put the Heat in a bind for Friday's contest. Bosh (20.7 PER, +2.5 BPM) might not play again this season, and Whiteside (23.7 PER, +1.8 BPM) is suspended for this game after throwing an elbow at San Antonio's Boban Marjonovic. You do not mess with the Boban.

Miami's frontcourt is depleted enough for us to go ahead and make the Hawks our NBA pick here at the home office. Atlanta grades out as a 5-point home fave according to FiveThirtyEight's Elo-based model, or –5.5 using the Simple Rating System at Basketball-Reference. Not having Bosh or Whiteside to deal with should take care of the rest. Besides, the Heat probably didn't mind punting this game if it saved them $20 million next year.

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