NBA Odds: Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat Betting

NBA BettingThis Saturday a potential playoff preview will take place in sunny Miami when Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat host Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks.

Atlanta Hawks (39-21, 3rd in Eastern Conference) @ Miami Heat (31-31, 8th in Eastern Conference)

NBA Odds

Spread: Atlanta -1.5

Over/Under: 191.5

Money Line: Atlanta -135, Miami +110

Key Storylines

Bronze Medal: Michael Beasley

  • While Dwayne Wade was out with an injury, Michael Beasley stepped up and filled in admirably as the primary scoring option. Now with Wade back, Beasley hasn’t just been replaced as a scoring option, he has been benched in 4th quarters of the past three games. The reasoning has been Beasley’s poor defense and decisions with the ball. Udonis Haslem has taken his place as he is a better defender and foul shooter. It is hard to tell a guy to take over the offense and when Wade is back for him to go back to giving the ball up and play second-fiddle again.

  • Beasley, the second overall pick last year, will be a very good player in this league and has shown flashes of brilliance and extreme athleticism. His inability to be counted on late in games significantly hurts the Heat, especially against a team that is physical like Atlanta.
  • Advantage: Hawks

Silver Medal: Jamal Crawford

  • Jamal Crawford is the odds on favorite for NBA Sixth Man of the Year. Coming off the bench, Crawford is playing 30.8 minutes a game averaging 17.3 points (2nd on the team) and just fewer than three assists. Crawford is shooting 45% from the field and 37% from three point land.

  • Crawford will be big in this bout as he is the both the leader of the second unit and a lethal clutch performer at ends of games. The Gregg Popovich theory of starting one of the team’s best players on the bench (like he has done with Manu Ginobili for almost a decade) and have him come in when the other team’s starters are tired or out of the game, has worked wonders for Crawford this year. Miami does not have a strong second unit, in fact without Wade; they are below average in general. Wade will play most of the game, but look for Crawford to takeover in those periods while he rests.
  • Advantage: Hawks

Gold Medal: Dwayne Wade vs. Joe Johnson

  • Coming off a duel with Kobe Bryant in Miami where Wade and the Heat came away with a 114-11 OT victory. Wade had 27 points, 5 rebounds and 14 assists including a big assist to Quentin Richardson with Kobe guarding Wade in the final seconds to give the Heat a two point lead (Kobe tied it on a sick fade away J to go to OT). Wade is in a pantheon of stardom in the NBA that really only includes the likes of him, LeBron and Kobe with Durant and Dwight Howard at the doorstep.

  • One more step down the stoop is Joe Johnson. Johnson is a free agent at season’s end and is expected to get a lot of big money offers for his services. Johnson has averaged 21.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists a game this year and was named to the All-Star team. Johnson is a strong defender and an excellent shooter and is the main cog in the Hawks offense.

  • This battle will likely be close, but Wade is the better player. Johnson however, has a significantly better supporting cast and Wade may have trouble driving to the hole against the likes of Al Horford and Josh Smith. Even so, you have to like Wade over Johnson
  • Advantage: Heat

Prediction:

The Heat has beaten the Hawks twice this season by more than 15 points, with the Hawks having an early season 15 point victory of their own. I feel this game will be a bit closer, but with Wade leading the way at home, expect the Heat to win and take the season series.

Sportsbook Rating: Final: Heat 91 – Hawks 85

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