The NBA play-in games ahead of the first round of the playoffs begin on Tuesday, April 11. The Miami Heat received the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and will host the No. 8 Atlanta Hawks in the first of two matchups to determine whether they will get a first-round bid. The game will air on TNT at 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Miami’s Nikola Jovic remained out with a back injury this week and is not expected to return for the play-in game. Kyle Lowry is questionable and Max Strus is probable for the Heat. The Hawks’ starting five rested in their final regular season game, but should all be set to return to the court in this matchup.
The Heat enter as 5-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, with the total set at 228. Miami is -200 on the moneyline, while Atlanta is +170.
Heat vs. Hawks, 7:30 p.m. ET
Pick ATS: Heat -5
The Jimmy Butler vs. Trae Young matchup is what this game will come down to, and Butler has the advantage in almost every facet of the game. The Heat have beaten the Hawks in three of their four matchups this year and have the defensive size to stifle Young. Last year’s playoffs showed that Young struggles against the Heat. While Dejounte Murray adds another ball handler to the mix, Butler’s ability to practically will his teams to win these types of games combined with a home court advantage should put Miami over the edge.
Over/Under: Over 228
This is a winner-takes-all play-in game, which means we can expect both teams to go all out in a high-scoring matchup. With a playoff berth on the line and some real playmakers on both sides of the court, I like the over here.