Hawks vs Heat Picks and Predictions: Heat Starters Make Early Impact

Miami has wrapped the No. 1 seed up, but it might have no choice but to play its starters tonight against Atlanta, at least in the early going. That's why we're targeting the first quarter spread with our Hawks vs. Heat NBA betting picks.

Last Updated: Apr 8, 2022 2:42 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Jimmy Butler Miami Heat NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks make the short trip to the Sunshine State to face off against the Miami Heat in NBA action on Friday night. 

NBA betting towards the end of the regular season is always tricky, and with the Heat having secured the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, they might be less motivated than an Atlanta side still jockeying for play-in position.

Here are our best free Hawks vs. Heat NBA picks and predictions for Friday, April 8.

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Hawks vs Heat odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

The Thursday line for this game opened with the Heat as 4.5-point favorites, but money has steadily come in on Atlanta, with the line now jumping the fence to favor the Hawks at -1.5 or -2. 

The total opened at 228.5, and with money coming on the Over, it has ticked up to 230 as of 10:30 a.m. ET. 

When these teams previously faced off on January 21, the Hawks won 110-108 as slim 1.5-point home faves.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until tip-off and be sure to check out the full NBA odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Hawks vs Heat predictions

Predictions made on 4/08/2022 at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Hawks vs Heat game info

Location: FTX Arena, Miami, FL
Date: Friday, April 8, 2022
Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Sun, Bally Sports South East

Hawks vs Heat betting preview

Key injuries

Hawks: Lou Williams SG (Questionable), John Collins PF (Out).
Heat: Gabe Vincent PG (Questionable), Markieff Morris PF (Questionable), Caleb Martin SF (Questionable), Omar Yurtseven C (Questionable), P.J. Tucker F (Out), Dewayne Dedmon C (Questionable).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 6-0 in Atlanta's last six road games versus a team with a winning home record. Find more NBA betting trends for Hawks vs. Heat.

Hawks vs Heat picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

The Miami Heat are 5-0 straight up and against the spread in their last five games and most recently demolished the Hornets 144-115 to clinch the top seed in the East. The reason they are short dogs at home is that they might not be inclined to put their best effort (or give big minutes to their best players) with just two games left in the season. 

The Hawks are heading to the play-in but avoiding a single-elimination scenario and/or gaining home-court advantage is still a possibility since they are tied with the eighth-place Nets and just one game behind the Cavs for seventh. Atlanta is fresh off a 118-103 victory against the Wizards and is 6-1 SU and ATS in its previous seven contests. 

It's tough to tell just how hungry Miami will be in this spot. That said, things like "motivation" are typically baked into the lines at this point of the season, so short of the Heat actually choosing to rest key players, I feel comfortable backing them at this number.

In addition, with several backups banged up, they might actually be more likely to give their starters a normal workload, especially at center, where both reserves are hurting and starter Bam Adebayo is one of the best in the business. Point guard Kyle Lowry also sat out Wednesday's game for rest, so it seems more likely he'll see the floor tonight. 

Atlanta is playing very well right now and has the second-highest rated offense in the NBA, but the Hawks have struggled on the other end of the floor, ranking just 26th in defensive efficiency. Miami has the better all-around team, ranking fourth in the league in defensive rating and 10th on offense, and will have home-court advantage. 

It's also worth noting that when an almost full-strength Hawks team played against a Heat squad missing Adebayo and Jimmy Butler on January 12, Atlanta still got crushed by 24 points. 

We'll wait until later to bet this game, just in case the Heat decide to sit some of their bigger names, but for now, we're leaning towards them on the spread.

Prediction: Heat +2 (-110 at PointsBet)

Over/Under analysis

The Hawks have a high-octane offense and a leaky defense, but the O/U of 230 looks a bit too high against a stingy defensive team like Miami. The Heat play at the third-slowest pace in the NBA, and with strong two-way players such as Adebayo, Butler, and Lowry, they limit opponents to just 105.3 points per game — the third-best number in the league. 

The Hawks also score at a significantly lower rate on the road, where they average 110.8 ppg on 45.6% shooting, compared to at home where they drop 116.7 ppg on 48.2% shooting. 

With the Under 6-0 in Atlanta's last six away games against teams with a winning home record and the Heat 8-3 to the Under in their previous 11 contests against teams with a winning record, we're taking the Under tonight.

Prediction: Under 230 (-110 at bet365)

Best bet

As we mentioned, with so many backups questionable, like point guard Gabe Vincent, forwards Caleb Martin and Markieff Morris, and a pair of centers (not to mention starter P.J. Tucker sidelined for at least a week), the Heat might have little choice but to play their core players — especially in the early going. 

They might choose to rest those starters later on in the game, but I have a feeling they play in the first quarter and I have a tough time seeing someone like Butler play with less intensity just because the top seed is wrapped up.

The Heat have been one of the best first-quarter teams in the league, especially at home, where they have an average scoring margin of plus-3.1 ppg.

This is another bet where I'll be waiting until closer to tipoff to put my money down, just in case an integral Heat player is given the night off. But if most of the top dawgs are warming up, I like Miami on the first-quarter spread.

Pick: First Quarter Heat +0.5 (-114 at FanDuel)

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