Miami Heat will host the Atlanta Hawks in the first game of their NBA playoffs series on Sunday afternoon. The home side wants to kick off the tie with a win in front of its crowd. The visitors needed to go through the play-in, but they are full of confidence ahead of this fixture.
Miami has played very well recently, and they look forward to continuing in the same fashion at the start of the post-season. The hosts want to go far in the playoffs, and they eye a victory on their court. On the other hand, Atlanta managed to reach the post-season through the two play-in games. Despite having less time to prepare for this match, the away side looks pretty confident.
Miami Heat – Can they win on the home court?
Despite wrapping up the regular season with a 125-111 defeat away to the Orlando Magic, the Heat topped the Eastern Conference with a 53-29 record. Prior to that match, Miami celebrated six times in a row, and that run helped them stay at the pole position. They were not great in field-goal scoring against the Magic since they had a 42.6 percentage. Nevertheless, that defeat didn’t hurt them much, and Miami had a chance to rest some key players. The Heat have been pretty confident at the home court recently, winning on the previous three occasions.
Jimmy Butler has led the Heat’s offense through the regular season with 21.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.6 steals per contest. Tyler Herro contributes with 20.7 pts, five rebs, and four assists per game, while Bam Adebayo tops the rebounds charts with 10.1, followed by 19.1 points per game. Kyle Lowry is the team’s best assistant with 7.5 while averaging 13.4 pts per match. Three other Miami players managed to contribute with a double-digit number of points per game. Regarding the availability issues, P.J. Tucker is definitely out, while four other players are questionable, including Tyler Herro and Gabe Vincent.
Expected Line-Up: Kyle Lowry, Max Strus, Jimmy Butler, Duncan Robinson, Bam Adebayo
with best odds
Atlanta Hawks – Will they extend their winning streak?
The Hawks have been running hot lately, as they managed to go through the play-in series pretty confidently. They booked a comfortable 132-103 win against the Charlotte Hornets before beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-101 on the road in the play-in decider. Despite a poor 29.0 three-point percentage, Trae Young led Atlanta to the post-season spot by scoring 38 points, followed by nine assists, three rebounds, and a block for 40 minutes on the court. It was Atlanta’s third straight win, and they lost just twice on the previous 11 occasions.
Trae Young has been the most productive player for the Hawks in the regular season with 28.4 points, including a team-high 9.7 assists per game. John Collins averages 16.2 pts, 7.8 rebs, and a block per match, while Bogdan Bogdanovic produces 15.1 points, four rebs, 3.1 assists, and 1.1 steals. Clint Capela dominates the paint with 11.9 rebounds while scoring 11.1 points per game and having a team-high 1.3 blocks. However, the Hawks cannot count on him, John Collins, and Lou Williams in this match.
Expected Line-Up: Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, Danilo Gallinari, Onyeka Okongwu
Expert Pick #1 – Miami Heat -6.5 @-110
Miami had more time to rest and recover for this match, and they are strong favorites in the series opener. Since the Hawks will miss a couple of starters, including Clint Capela, I think the home side will meet expectations by winning and covering the number. That’s going to be my first pick.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 219 @-110
The Heat has been involved in high-scoring matches recently since the Over cashed in four of their last five games. Although Atlanta hasn’t played so many efficient games lately, I believe we’ll see more than 219 points in this one. Give me the Over as the second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – Miami Heat Over 112.5 @-120
The Heat produced more than 112 pts in five of their previous seven matches, and I expect them to be productive in the offense in this one. They managed to go over this margin in their last three h2h clashes against the Hawks at FTX Arena, and I’ll take this one as the third pick at slightly lower odds than the first two.