NBA playoff action continues on Friday night with the top-seeded Heat looking to move one step closer to the second round against the eighth-seeded Hawks.
Miami has a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series after thrashing Atlanta 115-105 on Tuesday behind Jimmy Butler’s career postseason-high 45 points. It was the second double-digit win in as many outings, although oddsmakers are clearly expecting a more competitive affair this time around as the Heat opened as narrow -2.5-point favorites.
Can Atlanta bounce back at home, or will Miami continue to steamroll the opposition? Find out in our free NBA picks and predictions for Heat vs. Hawks.
Heat vs Hawks odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
The Heat opened as 2.5-point favorites at most sportsbooks immediately following their resounding Game 2 victory, but that number was quickly bet down to -1.5 by Wednesday morning and has remained steady since. The total opened at 220, and has remained there since at most operators.
Heat vs Hawks predictions
Predictions made on 4/21/2022 at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Heat vs Hawks game info
• Location: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
• Date: Friday, April 22, 2022
• Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET
• TV: ESPN
Heat vs Hawks series odds
Heat vs Hawks betting preview
Hawks: Lou Williams G (Questionable), Clint Capela C (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Heat are 6-0 ATS in their last six games vs. a team with a winning straight-up record. Find more NBA betting trends for Heat vs. Hawks.
Heat vs Hawks 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.
Many bettors likely woke up on Thursday surprised to see the Heat installed as mere -1.5-point favorites for Game 3. Miami had, after all, just beaten Atlanta by 10 points in a physical game tailor-made for the rough and ready Heat.
Let’s be perfectly clear: the modest point spread isn’t because the Hawks suddenly unlocked a new gear or found a chink in Miami’s armor. Far from it, in fact. The Heat bested the Hawks in nearly every statistical category in Game 2 while limiting Atlanta to 30% shooting from beyond the arc. Miami also forced 19 turnovers with its relentless, swarming defense, prompting its lead to balloon to 16 points in the second half.
The 1.5-point spread really comes down to home-court advantage, and while returning to the Peach State will likely nudge the total upwards, it won’t result in an Atlanta win. The Heat are now 5-1 against the Hawks in 2021-22, with an average margin of victory of 11 points. Miami has repeatedly beaten Atlanta in the trenches, at the line, in the open court, and on the perimeter. In the one game that the Hawks did manage to win on January 21, the Heat were without leading contributors Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro.
The Hawks will be down a player of their own on Friday night, as center Clint Capela will miss his third straight game with a hyperextended knee. “Swiss Bank” averaged 11.5 points and 10 rebounds against Miami this season, and his presence was sorely missed in Game 2 as Jimmy Butler exploded for 45 points on a dizzying variety of baseline drives, coast-to-coast layups, and uncontested dunks.
The Hawks will undoubtedly look like a different team at home on Friday. They just won’t look like the better team.
Prediction: Heat -1.5 (-110 at DraftKings)
History is not on the Hawks' side, as Atlanta has never won a playoff series after falling behind 0-2. However, even though Trae Young & Co. may not advance to the second round, they can still make things interesting on Friday night when they return to the friendly confines of State Farm Arena.
No team has been hotter at home over the past three months than the Hawks, who have won 20 of their past 23 games in Atlanta dating back to January 17. That includes huge wins over playoff teams like Milwaukee, Minnesota, Boston, Phoenix, Chicago, Toronto, Memphis, and Brooklyn.
Atlanta’s dominance at home is, without question, the No. 1 reason why the Heat opened as just 2.5-point favorites. It’s also why taking the Over on the projected 220.5-point total is the biggest no-brainer of the night.
Not only did the Hawks average 5.5 more points per game at home than on the road this season, but they also topped 118 points in five of their six final home games to close out the 2021-22 campaign. Young was especially dynamic in Atlanta this year, as he averaged 30.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 9.5 assists playing in the “Highlight Factory.”
Those numbers are impossible to ignore, especially when you consider the fact that the Heat and Hawks combined for 220 points in Game 2 in an intense road environment for Atlanta. The return of John Collins, who’s still rounding into form after missing Game 1 due to injury, should also give the Hawks some extra scoring punch.
Expect the Hawks to look far more relaxed on Friday playing in front of their home fans.
Prediction: Over 220.5 (-110 at FanDuel)
They say you can’t keep a good man down, and that was certainly the case with Young in Game 2. Two days after enduring the worst shooting performance of his professional career, the All-Star guard finished with 25 points on a coolly efficient 10 of 20 from the floor. Granted, Young made just two of his 10 3-point attempts, but it was still a strong bounce-back performance after Sunday’s debacle.
Bettors should expect even bigger things from Young on Friday. Throwing out Game 1 as an anomaly, the 23-year-old point guard has averaged 31.3 points over his past 10 games, including Atlanta’s two play-in victories over Charlotte and Cleveland. More importantly, Young is healthy, motivated, and playing at home, where he scored 30+ points 21 times during the regular season.
Unlike Game 1, when he was ineffective, and Game 2, when he shot sparingly, Young understands he’s the only thing preventing the Hawks from falling into an insurmountable 0-3 hole. Count on him going Over 26.5 points on Friday night, even if it takes 25 shots to get there.
Pick: Trae Young Over 26.5 points (-114 at FanDuel)
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