Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat – NBA, March 02, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| March 2, 2021 2:40 pm PDT

Will the Hawks feel the Heat in Miami in this Southeast Divisional NBA matchup? The sun has certainly been shining bright for Miami this season as they sit on top of the Southeast Division. Atlanta sits down in 11th in the Eastern Conference, and they know they need to start clawing their way back into playoff contention.

Miami has had the better of things between these two, winning six of the previous seven matches between them. They last met only two days ago, and the Hawks felt the Heat that night so much, so they got burned 109-99! Miami dominated the match-winning three of the four quarters and ran out convincing winners. This was the Heat’s fifth straight home win against the Hawks, and they will be looking to make it six tonight.

Here is my Hawks vs. Heat betting preview.

Hawks vs. Heat Odds

Hawks +3.5-110
Heat -3.5-110
Hawks To Win+150
Heat To Win-154
Over 220.5 Points-110
Under 220.5 Points-110

All of the early money has come for over the point’s total tonight. So much so that the bookmakers have increased the number by a full three points. The two teams played out a low-scoring game only two days ago, and the points total was set at 225 that day. The bookmakers rightfully lowered that figure but perhaps a bit too drastically, and those who managed to get on early at 217.5 will now be rubbing their hands together.

What’s funny is the bookmakers didn’t follow the same knee-jerk reaction to the spread. It was set at 2.5 on that occasions, and although the Heat won by ten, it has only been increased by a single point.

The Hawks have not faired well as underdogs this season and have lost 12 of the 18 games they have entered as the betting outsiders.

Hawks News

The Hawks are on a dreadful run of form and have lost three of their last four games. What’s more is that two of those defeats came against the Cavaliers and the Thunder, both of whom are struggling. The Hawks have failed to win back-to-back games since the 23rd of January, which highlights their inconsistencies.

They have a terrible record on the road and have only won six of their 17 away trips this season. Atlanta has lost their previous four away fixtures, and they will want to avoid making it five tonight.

Here are the latest betting trends for Atlanta:

Against The Spread

  • The Hawks are 3-7 in their last ten games.
  • They have only won one of their previous five matches against Miami.
  • Atlanta is 1-5-1 in their last seven games against teams in the Southeast Division.

This condemns their poor form and highlights that many of their losses have come by significant margins.

Points Total

  • Ten of their last 12 games have gone over the betting total.
  • Only three of their previous 12 matches against Eastern Conference opposition have failed to go over the points total.

The trends anticipate a high-scoring game tonight.

Other Pointers

  • Atlanta is 4-11 in their previous 15 matches.
  • They have only won one of their last seven games on the road.

This confirms their struggles over the previous couple of months and doesn’t offer much hope here.

Despite a low field goal percentage of 45%, the Hawks’ offense isn’t too bad. That isn’t to say they can’t shoot as they have been lethal from the free-throw line this season, so the Heat will have to stay disciplined.

They have also rebounded well in attack, averaging 11 rebounds per game, the second-highest average in the NBA.

Their defense isn’t the best, but it should be a match for the Heats attack tonight. They press their opponents very well and don’t tend to concede too many three-pointers because of this.

It’s tough to see where things are going so wrong for the Hawks right now as their stats suggest they are a much better team than they are performing. I don’t think it’s down to work ethic as their defensive pressing is amongst the league’s busiest. Perhaps they aren’t executing their game plans well enough, or the game plans might not even be the right ones to follow. Either way, when you look at their team’s ability, you had to start questioning the coaching staff.

Ultimately, there was only one decision to be made: to remove head coach Lloyd Pierce from his position, and that is what they did yesterday. You have to feel for Pierce slightly as his team was hit hard by injuries but then again, so have most other teams at one time or another this season.

Without a leader off the court, the Hawks will certainly be looking for some on the court, especially in the interim. They will look to players like Clint Capela for inspiration, and he has offered that in abundance lately as he posted his ninth double-double in ten games last time out against the Heat. If he can replicate that tonight and one or two others can chip in, the Hawks will stand a decent chance of winning.

Although they are still struggling with injuries and they will miss Dunn, Bogdanovic, and Hunter tonight. Reddish remains a doubt also as he recovers from an Achilles problem.

Heat News

The Heat is on their best run all season, having made it six wins in a row when they beat the Hawks recently. They also picked up wins against the Lakers and the Jazz during that run, which endorses their form remarkably.

They have been decent at home this season, winning ten and losing seven of their 17 matches. Miami has won their previous five home games, and they don’t look like easing up anytime soon. They have been competitive in every game since their heavy defeat to the Nuggets at the back end of January, and I believe that will continue tonight.

Here are the latest betting trends for Miami:

Against The Spread

  • The Heat have won all six of their most recent games.
  • They have only lost one of their previous five matches against teams from the Eastern Conference.

This confirms their good form and will probably send shivers down the Hawks fan’s spines.

Points Total

  • Six of their last eight games played in March have gone under the betting total.
  • The total has gone under in six of the previous nine matches that the Heat have entered as the betting favorite.

These stats contradict those of the Hawks and suggest it will be a low-scoring game.

The Heat have a poor attack that has only averaged 107 points per game. This has primarily been down to their poor rebounding, which is an area the Hawks will look to exploit tonight.

They also need to be much better in possession as they have made the most turnovers in the NBA this season.

However, their defense is excellent, and they guard the basket with their lives making it very difficult for teams to penetrate them.

They have a meager block count for a team that defends so well, which is another area that the Hawks can look to win the battle in.

For the Heat, it has been all about teamwork and camaraderie this season, and while there are still question marks as to whether this is enough to carry them into the playoffs, you can’t question that it is working right now.

Miami will be without Bradley and Leonard, and it remains to be seen if Butler will return tonight as he missed the win against the Hawks last time out following a knee injury.

Hawks vs. Heat Pick

Pick
  • Miami -3.5
    -110

It will be interesting to see how the Hawks react to losing their head coach. Will the players step up and finally be accounted for? Or will they use it as an excuse and add it to the pile of other excuses they have made this season? I like the Hawks, and I think, man for man, they are a better team than Miami. However, that is precisely what they are not right now, a team, and they are coming up against one of the best groups at present. It would be silly to ignore all the signs where the Heat is in better form, they have a better record over the Hawks, and they have a head coach! I will take the Heat to cover the handicap as they did two nights ago.

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