Heat Undervalued, or Valuable?
I throw around the term ‘value’ a lot, and this game could have a lot of it. The NBA Odds have the Heat as only -4 ½ favorites, with a total of 194 ½. With both teams really needing a win for separate reasons, this could be a contested game, However in the video, I speculated that the line might be higher than 4 ½ points, and because of that, the Heat look like the play here.
Even though there has been no word yet on Dywane Wade’s status, he is probably not going to play. He has missed nearly 30 games this season, and if he didn’t play last night against the Pacers, I find it very unlikely that he would play tonight.
That leaves Lebron James to play the Hawks by himself, and with a chance to almost lock up the #1 overall seed in the East, this could be the last game where the Heat play hard. The Hawks on the other hand have their magic number down to one, and a big win over the Heat is exactly what they need here.
It isn’t outside of the realm of possibility either that the Heat starts resting here. The #1 seed in the East is a lot less desirable, especially if the Bulls and Nets are the second round opponent. The Bulls were able to move up to the #3 seed last night so it’s not looking great for that scenario, but an argument could be made that both the Pacers and Heat would rather have the #2 seed and play the Raptors in the 2nd round. Toronto would have to move back up for that to happen, but a road of Bobcats, Raptors to get to the East Finals might be easier than trying to beat either the Nets or Bulls.
The Sharp Pick
However I don’t think it’s time for the Heat to tank just yet, and they should come out and dominate this game. The Heat are only 15-15 ATS this season when playing as road favorites, however the Hawks have not been good as home favorites, or on the beck to back. When playing on no rest, the Hawks are only 8-13 ATS this season.
Atlanta has also been surprisingly bad against the East this season. On the year, they are only 22-26-1 ATS, and they have lost to some bad teams. Playing against the league’s best team isn’t going to suddenly turn things around for them, especially because they are a really good matchup for the Heat.
The Hawks don’t have much size, so the Heat might actually out-rebound someone for once. Plus, the Heat matchup very well against the Hawks’ best two players. Mario Chalmers should do a good job on Jeff Teague, while Chris Bosh will slow down Paul Millsap enough to get the win and cover here. I’m laying the points with the road team for my basketball pick.
NBA Pick: Heat -4 ½