The Atlanta Hawks have an opportunity to get out of the first round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs on Friday against the Miami Heat, but they’ll have to do so on the road. Let’s take a look at the matchup and hand out a free pick for tonight’s crucial game.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SPORTSBETTING.COM have made the Heat a five-point favorite, while setting the total of tonight’s game at 182.
In their two previous games in Miami, the Hawks were smoked 107-78 in Game 3, but managed to bounce back in Game 4, beating the Heat 81-71 thanks to Mike Bibby’s team-high 15 points. The Hawks also won Game 5 at home, giving them a 3-2 series edge with Game 6 in Miami on Friday and Game 7 (if necessary) in Atlanta on Sunday.
The Hawks compiled a 46-34 regular season record this year, while the Heat came in just under that number at 42-38. Atlanta is 35-9 (.795) as a favorite this year, while Miami is a dismal 15-29 as an underdog.
Miami is 19-8 against the spread versus Atlanta since 1996 and 23-4 straight up against the Hawks since ’96. Miami is also 5-3 against the spread versus Atlanta over the last three seasons and 33-20 ATS verses the Hawks since 1996.
While the trends favor Miami, we happen to think that the line is set way too high in this one. The Hawks have a chance to close this series out and while they didn’t look good in Miami in Game 3, their rebound performance in Game 4 proves that they can win there.
Our NBA Playoffs Free Pick for this game is ATLANTA +5.
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Posted: 5/1/09 8:00AM ET