The Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks wrap up a two-game set in South Beach on Monday, with Miami taking the first contest 117-109 as a 3-point home favorite Saturday.
The Heat and Hawks are sitting No. 7 and No. 8 in the Eastern Conference standings respectively, with Miami owning a 1.5-game cushion after the win on the weekend.
Atlanta is still getting used to new head coach Quin Synder, who's trying to cure what is being reported as a poison culture for the club.
I run down the spread and Over/Under total for this Southeast Division showdown and give my best NBA picks and predictions for Hawks vs. Heat on March 6.
Hawks vs Heat best odds
Hawks vs Heat picks and predictions
The Miami Heat snapped a two-game funk and picked up just their second win in six games with Saturday’s home victory over the Atlanta Hawks. In Miami’s defense, that recent schedule would be an uphill climb for any team.
The Heat faced the likes of the red-hot Knicks, the 76ers twice, Milwaukee, and Denver and crammed in two three-in-four challenges coming out of the All-Star break. That led to a 2-4 mark against the spread.
However, the return home for the past two games — as well as tonight’s tilt with Atlanta and an upcoming two-game stand with Cleveland — is just what the Heat need to get right before the playoff push.
Miami took a New York team playing the best basketball of anyone in the Association to the wire (lost on a last-second 3-pointer) on Friday and then showed a lot of character the next night by coming out strong and shutting down one of the best offensive attacks in the land in Saturday’s win.
Part of that defensive success was an uptick in offensive efficiency, with Miami getting in close for quality looks. The Heat hit over 60% on their 2-point tries Saturday and totaled 54 points in the paint, which left the Hawks to inbound on many possessions and play into Miami’s plodding game pace (28th).
That also allowed the Heat to get back on the defensive end and clog up Atlanta’s pick-and-roll heavy attack. The Hawks use the high screen on the ball carrier to free up space for its smaller guards more than any team in the league, but Miami checks those offenses to a 40% success rate and just 0.89 points per play.
Atlanta is still adjusting to a new coach and new systems while Snyder tinkers with his rotations to fit his game plan. All the while, the rumor mill swirls around star Trae Young, his future with the franchise, and his degrading relationship with his teammates.
Another big win for Miami feels like a jumping-off point for a team that could make waves in the East and run up the standings before the end of the regular season.
My best bet: Heat moneyline (-144 at Pinnacle)
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Hawks vs Heat spread analysis
The point spread for this second straight meeting between these division rivals opened with Miami between -3 and -3.5 at home Monday night.
This spread is right where Saturday’s line closed at Heat -3. That spread opened as Miami -1.5 and grew to as big as -3 by tipoff, with both teams playing the second of back-to-back games but Atlanta having to travel overnight to South Beach.
The Heat held a 21-point lead in the third quarter before Atlanta went on a run heading the final frame and Miami held off that late charge for an 8-point victory.
That victory snapped a two-game slide for the Heat but was also their second straight solid offensive effort after struggling to score the basketball the past month. Part of those problems was a road-heavy schedule in February that had the Heat on the highway for seven of their 10 games.
Miami sits dead last in road scoring average but over the past two home stands, the team is shooting just under 50% from the floor and 41.7% from 3-point range. They hit 13 of 35 attempts from beyond the arc against Atlanta while shooting a collective 51% from the field Saturday.
The Hawks watched their standout scorers struggle against Miami’s defensive prowess this past weekend. Trae Young and Dejounte Murray had only seven combined points in the first two quarters and finished the contest with a collective 18 points on 5-for-27 shooting including a 0-for-10 goose egg from distance.
If not for a surprise showing from the Hawks bench in the third quarter (reserves finished with 55 points) and 19 total turnovers from the Heat, which Atlanta flipped into 20 points, the Hawks wouldn’t have been able to claw as close as five points in the fourth quarter.
Overall, Atlanta is 14-18-1 ATS on the road and 28-35-1 ATS overall on the season. Miami is actually worse at 23-39-3 ATS, with an NBA-low 9-21-2 ATS record at home. The Heat have won two of the previous three meetings with the Hawks, covering in both of those victories.
Hawks vs Heat Over/Under analysis
Monday’s Over/Under opened at 227 points and has since jumped to as high as 229.5 with early play on the Over.
Saturday’s total hit the board at 225.5 with both teams playing the second of back-to-back nights and that rose to 227.5 at some shops. The 117-109 final score was right on the nose, landing in the middle of that line move.
However, considering the down night from Atlanta’s stars and Miami’s sloppy play, there were points left on the table and early bettors are expecting a sharper offensive effort from Atlanta this evening.
The Hawks can fill it up when clicking, ranked out 10th in advanced offensive rating and averaging 117 points per game on the season, but perhaps the biggest influence Snyder can have on Atlanta is on the defensive end, which has been the team’s soft spot this year. Plugging up the paint will be an emphasis tonight after the Heat scored 54 points inside the key in the last outing.
The Heat are a tailormade Under team with an elite defensive rating and a slow-paced offense that averages less than 110 points per contest. That’s trickled down into a 29-26 O/U count despite bookies trimming those totals significantly over the past month.
But we did see an improvement on offense from the Heat in the past two outings, with Miami getting the ball inside for high-percentage looks. They’ve scored a collective 106 points in the paint in those contests and have then been sharp from outside on kick-outs, with 25 triples in that two-game stretch.
On the season, the Hawks are one of the better Over bets at 36-28 O/U, including a 20-13 O/U count on the road. The Heat are 15-17 O/U at home and 1-2 O/U versus the Hawks this season.
Hawks vs Heat betting trend to know
Miami is 23-5 SU and 16-10-2 ATS as a favorite vs. division opponents over the past two seasons. Find more NBA betting trends for Hawks vs. Heat.
Hawks vs Heat game info
|Location:||Miami-Dade Arena, Miami, FL|
|Date:||Monday, March 6, 2023|
|Tip-off:||7:30 p.m. ET|
|TV:||Bally Sports Southeast-ATL, Bally Sports Sun|