NBA Play-In Tournament 2023: Hawks vs. Heat odds, predictions and best bets

By Zachary Cohen  ( 

April 11, 2023 10:25 AM

NBA Play-In Tournament 2023: Hawks vs. Heat odds, predictions and best bets

The NBA Play-In Tournament has provided us with a lot of excitement since its implementation, and we're looking forward to the event's opening matchup between the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat on Tuesday, April 11th. The winner of this game will be the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, which means that team will head to Boston to face the Boston Celtics. Jonathan Von Tobel will be previewing every NBA series that these NBA Playoffs have to offer, so make sure you check out what he has to say for all of these intriguing matchups. However, we're also doing some head-to-head previews, while continuing to give you your usual dose of NBA best bets and player props. With that said, we have a lot in store for what are some of the most exciting weeks of the year. Keep reading as we dive into this first matchup, which happens to be between two teams that clashed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs last year. 

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Hawks at Heat betting odds

Heat -5 / Total: 226.5

For updated odds, check out our VSiN NBA Odds page!

Hawks at Heat Side Analysis

It’s wild to think about what we saw from the Hawks this season. Atlanta went 41-41 on the year, with a net rating of 0.1. The Hawks were 17-24 on the road, but they were 24-17 at home. All in all, this team was a walking tribute to the Seinfeld episode in which Kramer referred to Jerry as “Even Steven.” If they lost a $20 bill, they’d pick up another one up. But they were never in a tailspin, and they were never scorching hot.

Atlanta went into the year with high expectations, but the team ultimately didn’t live up to them. However, the Hawks can still earn themselves the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. All they need to do is beat the Heat in the Play-In on Tuesday, and it’s hard not to like their chances of at least putting up a fight here.

The Heat are just 14-25-2 against the spread when playing at home this season, and they’re 9-21 ATS when playing as favorites of 3.5 to 9.5 points this year. This Miami team didn’t run away with games when it was expected to, so why should we believe the Heat will do it now? Quin Snyder also happens to be a tremendous head coach, so he should be able to make some adjustments and have his group ready to go in this one. 

It's also just hard to ignore the advantage the Hawks have in the backcourt in a game like this. Trae Young and Dejounte Murray were far from perfect in their first year together, but they are still a lot better than a backcourt that consists of Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro. It’s also hard to envision a scenario in which Bam Adebayo completely dominates around the basket, as Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu make up a very formidable duo at center.

We should mention that Jimmy Butler shredded this Hawks team during the regular season, averaging 25.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game in three meetings with Atlanta. But the Hawks are going to feel good about their chances of winning this game if they can simply keep the other players on the Heat in check. 

Miami is also a team that can occasionally get stuck in the mud offensively, with the Heat being just 25th in the NBA in offensive rating — while also playing at the second-slowest pace in the league. The Hawks are a little more reliable when it comes to getting buckets, as they were seventh in the NBA in offensive rating this year. When you combine all of that with the fact that the Hawks were solid when it came to defending the 3-point line season, it’s hard not to like Atlanta in this spot. 

Hawks at Heat Total Analysis

When looking at the total in this game, it’s hard not to come back to the fact that the Heat play at the second-slowest pace in the NBA. This Miami team wants this to turn into an ugly game that is decided by which team wins the battle in half-court situations. And while we do like the Hawks to cover in this one, it’ll likely be the Heat that win out when it comes to style of play.

Miami is one of the few teams in the league that genuinely plays a different brand of basketball than everybody else, and Erik Spoelstra’s group generally does a good job of trapping opponents into playing slow.

It's also worth noting that the under is 7-2-1 in the last 10 games these two have played against one another, and that includes some of the games these two played in the first round of last year’s NBA Playoffs — when the Heat eliminated the Hawks in five games. Knowing that these two have played grind-it-out affairs in the playoffs in the past makes it hard not to like them to do the same in another postseason scenario. 

Hawks at Heat Best Bet 

Can Butler turn in a Herculean effort that ultimately buries the Hawks? Sure. But the best bet is backing the road team with the points. The reality is that this is a game that should be winnable for Atlanta outright, even if Miami has been a tough matchup in the past. When this thing comes down to the final few minutes, you’ll be happy you have the points. These two met in early March and the Hawks were only 2.5-point underdogs. What have we seen since that suggests Miami is worthy of being favored by double that amount? If anything, the Heat looked worse defensively towards the end of the regular season. 

Pick: Hawks +5 (-110) 

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