The Miami Heat take their four-game winning streak to New Orleans for a battle with the Pelicans on Friday night. The 40-22 Heat sit 13 games behind the Bucks for the lead in the Eastern Conference and 3.5 games behind the Raptors in second.
The Pelicans have looked like a different team with Zion Williamson; unfortunately, it hasn’t yet translated into their record. They are 26-36, 5 games behind the Grizzlies for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. They are 22 games behind the West-leading Lakers.
This game features two of the NBA’s most exciting teams right now. Even with the Pelicans floundering, their rookie superstar attracts all of the attention. The Heat are competing with Boston and Toronto for the title of the best team in the East not named the Bucks. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 pm ET. Let’s take a betting preview look at this game.
The Heat is On
Miami is coming off a four-game winning streak that saw them beat two really good teams, and one great one. They obliterated the Bucks 105-89 on Monday night, then went on to beat the Magic by three in Miami on Wednesday night. After the win over the Bucks, Jimmy Butler said that this was the way the team could play all the time if they were more consistent.
Butler is putting up 20.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. His defensive ability has made him one of the best players in the Eastern Conference. Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic are both putting up over 16 points per game as well. Adebayo also averages 10.5 rebounds and five assists per game.
Battling For New Orleans
The Pelicans are seeking desperately to come up and grab the 8th spot in the Western Conference. Right now, they’re in it just as much as every team 8-12 are. All five teams are within five games of each other. The Pels are 12th, and five games behind eighth. Zion has been stealing all of the spotlight as of late, but it’s a different Pelican that has caught my eye.
Brandon Ingram is easily having the best year of his career. He’s developed into the scorer that NBA scouts thought that he would be a few years ago. He’s putting up 24.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. Throw in Zion’s 24 points, seven rebounds, and 2.2 assists, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a future.
Against the Wall and the Spread
These two teams have been extremely similar against the spread this season. Miami is 32-28-2, and New Orleans is 31-29-2. Not bad for the Pels who are nowhere near the Heat’s league in wins. The Pelicans are only 15-16 at home against the spread this season.
Miami, who has been the best team in the league against the spread at home this season, comes in 12-18-1 on the road. The third-worst record in the NBA. The Heat are favored by 1.5 points in this game. The over/ under is set at 235.5.
For more info on this game, check out our matchup page. For more odds and action from around the league, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.
Tags: Miami Heat, NBA, NBA betting preview, New Orleans Hornets
After winning five straight games, the LA Clippers head to Houston on Thursday for a classic showdown with the Rockets, featuring two of the top four teams in the Western Conference. The Clippers are in second at 42-19, five games behind the Lakers, while the 39-21 Rockets sit in fourth, 2.5 games behind the Clippers, and 7.5 behind the Lakers.
Both teams head into Thursday’s matchup fully healthy, which should give fans the battle royale that they want. The Clippers are coming off a Tuesday night win against Oklahoma City, while the Rockets are coming off a tough road loss to the Knicks on Monday night. Tip-off is set for 8 pm ET at the Toyota Center in Houston. Read on for more on the game in our betting preview.
Results of the Duo
The combination of a healthy Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both on the floor has been a winning one for the Clippers. They come in 21-7 when both are on the floor. Leonard is averaging 27 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. He also grabs nearly two steals per game.
George is averaging 21.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game himself. Throw in Lou Williams’ ability to score on demand with Patrick Beverley’s ability to defend anyone in the league, and you’ve got yourself a winning team. The Clippers rank top 5 in both offensive and defensive rating in the league.
The Other Dynamic Duo
Since James Harden and Russell Westbrook have been reunited, they’ve both played just as they always have, out of their minds. Westbrook’s efficiency and shooting percentage even went up. The superstar is taking way fewer bad shots. Harden is averaging an NBA-leading 35 points per game, and his step-back seems to get better with age.
The Rockets’ decision to go small and trade away Nene and Clint Capela has worked out so far. The additions of Robert Covington and Jordan Bell allow the Rockets to go even smaller, spreading the floor.
This gives Westbrook the driving lanes he needs, and Harden the open looks from deep that he needs. All feast, no famine. Covington and fellow sniper Eric Gordon both average around 14 points per game. Covington is shooting nearly 37% from three since joining the Rockets.
Spreading it Out Farther
Los Angeles has been better this season against the spread, as well as by record. The Clippers are 33-28 against the spread this season, while the Rockets are only 29-31. The Rockets are just over .500 against the spread at home, at 15-14. The Clippers are an even .500 on the road, at 15-15.
The Rockets are favored in this showdown by one point. The over/under is set at 237. Place your bets, ladies and gents. Good Luck!
For more on this game, check out the matchup page for the game. For more odds and action from around the NBA, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.
Tags: Houston Rockets, LA Clippers, NBA, NBA betting preview