Atlanta Hawks (2-1) at Miami Heat (2-1)
NBA: Tuesday, October 29th, 2019 at 7:30 pm ET (American Airlines Arena)
Line and Odds: Miami Heat -8 Over/Under: 223.5
Free ESPN NBA Picks Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks are off to a surprisingly strong 2-1 start. Expectations weren’t particularly high for the Hawks to begin the season because of how their season played out last year. In the 2018-2019 season, they finished with a record of 29-53. While they are naturally expected to grow and improve, the Hawks are an extremely young basketball team. 4 of their 5 starters (Trae Young, John Collins, Cam Reddish, and De’Andre Hunter) are 22 years old or under. The average age on the team is just 23.8 years old, the youngest mark in the entire NBA. The preseason odds were unkind to the Hawks as the oddsmakers set their over/under win total at 33.5 wins. If they continue to play like they have been to start the season, they have a great chance of hitting that over.
Atlanta opened the season with 2 wins over the Detroit Pistons and the Orlando Magic, respectively. In the season opener, they secured a 117-100 win over the Pistons in Detroit. They followed that up with with a 103-99 home win against the division rival Magic. Their last game saw their first loss, but it was certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Atlanta lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 105-103. Many people expect the 76ers to go to the NBA Finals, and Atlanta went back and forth with them. It was 103-103 with under 10 seconds left and Joel Embiid was able to hit 2 free throws to put the game away. The Hawks have played pretty well in all 3 games, so far.
The star of the Atlanta Hawks is undoubtedly 2nd-year point guard Trae Young. Trae was the opening week’s Eastern Conference Player Of The Week with his impressive play. Against the Pistons, Young put up a scoreline of 38 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds. Similarly, he put up 39 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds against the Magic two days later. Philadelphia’s defense did a slightly better job on him, but he was still able to make his mark on the game. He had 25 points and 9 assists on the stingy Philly defense. Young has been shooting 52.0% from 3 with an effective field goal percentage of 61.4%. It appears that Young is getting better as he acquires more experience in the NBA.
The Miami Heat have also been impressive through 3 games of the season. Miami came into the season with higher expectations than the Atlanta Hawks, but they have been missing their prized free-agent acquisition, Jimmy Butler. The oddsmakers set the over/under for the Miami Heat’s win total at 43.5 wins. That is the tied with the Brooklyn Nets for the 6th-highest projected win total for any team in the Eastern Conference. Vegas also set their NBA Title odds at +6000 (60 to 1). Those are the 7th-best odds of the Eastern Conference’s 15 teams. These sets of odds basically indicate that the Heat are a playoff team, but not necessarily one who will go deep in the playoffs. Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra will set out to prove the betting markets wrong.
Through 3 games, the Heat’s season closely mirrors that of Atlanta’s. The Miami Heat are 2-1 on the season, winning their first 2 games. In this early stage of the year, Miami and Atlanta share the lead for the Southeast Division. Miami opened their season with a 120-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Heat followed that up with a high-quality road win, beating the Milwaukee Bucks 131-126 in Milwaukee. The Bucks are the preseason favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals, so a road win against the Bucks is as tough as gets in the East. However, the Heat were unable to complete the Milwaukee-Minnesota road double with back-to-back wins. Miami suffered their first loss, falling to the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-109 in Minneapolis.
Today is expected to mark the Miami Heat debut of All-Star forward/guard Jimmy Butler. Butler missed Miami’s 3 games on paternity leave after the birth of his first child. Jimmy Butler is a player who has averaged about 20 points per game for the past 5 years and also defends the opponents’ best offensive wing player. He will be a welcome addition to the team, but Miami has been thriving with the young guys. Miami is the 7th youngest team in the NBA. They have been starting rookies like Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn, as well as young players like Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo. Unfortunately for Miami, they will be missing James Johnson, Derrick Jones, and Dion Waiters for today’s game.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Atlanta’s last 5 games.
Atlanta is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games against Miami.
Atlanta is 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games on the road.
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Miami’s last 7 games.
The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Miami’s last 18 games against Atlanta.
Miami is 4-1 SU in their last 5 games when playing at home against Atlanta.
ESPN NBA Scores Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat
I’m taking the Hawks +8 in this matchup. I think the Hawks have the edge in this one because of the lack of continuity within the Heat’s playing rotation. Obviously, Jimmy Butler is a great addition to Miami. He’s a 4-time All-Star and 4-time All-Defensive team player. However, it’s going to take a little while to get him integrated into the offense and team as a whole. It’s one thing playing with a new team in the preseason, it’s a much different task to building chemistry on the floor for a regular season game. Thus far, the Hawks have a better net rating than the Heat. Atlanta has outscored teams by 6.3 points per 100 possessions, while Miami has outscored opponents by 5.1 points per 100 possessions. Atlanta is a full point better in defensive rating, allowing 100.1 points per 100 possessions, compared to Miami’s 101.1. Also, I think this game will be a comfortable one for Atlanta in terms of pace. Miami has been able to outrun teams, averaging 109.2 possessions per game (ranking #1 in pace). Atlanta is perfectly fine doing this as they finished #1 in pace last season. I like the underdog Hawks here.