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.