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NBA odds: Heat vs. Pelicans prediction, odds, pick, and more

The Miami Heat travel to the Big Easy to take on the New Orleans Pelicans in a rematch from Christmas Day. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Heat-Pelicans prediction and pick.

The Heat hold a record of 17-18 overall, and are 15-19-1  against the spread. Miami is coming off a loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

The Pelicans stand at 15-20 both overall and against the spread. The Pels are playing the second game of a back-to-back after last night’s loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Heat-Pelicans odds.

NBA Odds: Heat-Pelicans Odds

Miami Heat +2.5  (-110)

New Orleans Pelicans -2.5 (-110)

Over 227.5 Points (-110)

Under 227.5 Points (-110)

Why The Heat Could Cover The Spread

Miami’s loss to the Hawks broke the Heat’s best run of the season.

Jimmy Butler and company had won six straight games, including impressive victories over the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz.

The main factor for the winning streak was Miami’s defensive prowess.

The Heat have held their opponent under their scoring average for seven straight games now. In four of those matchups, Miami held their opponent to below 45% shooting from the field.

This is nothing new for the Heat. Led by Butler on the perimeter and Bam Adebayo in the paint, Miami has given up the fifth least points in the league and allowed the third least field goals made.

Unfortunately for the Heat, both Butler and Adebayo are questionable for tonight’s matchup. Miami will need both of them to contain a high-octane Pelicans offense.

Offensively, the Heat have struggled to put points on the board. The return of Goran Dragic has eased these struggles.

Dragic was instrumental in driving the Heat’s offensive outburst against the best defense in the league in the Utah Jazz.

The Dragon dropped 26 points on 15 shots off the bench, his best game since returning from injury.

Against a defense that’s allowed the fourth-most points in the league and hasn’t held an opponent to below 110 points in nearly a month, this is a good opportunity for the Heat to put together another impressive offensive showing.

Why The Pelicans Could Cover The Spread

It’s hard to put a pin on this New Orleans team. Sometimes they look capable of beating top teams in the league, sometimes they look like they’re Western Conference cellar dwellers.

One thing that’s been consistent for the Pelicans is their offense.

New Orleans has gone full backyard basketball mode, sacrificing defense to put up absurd numbers on the offensive end.

The Pels average 116.6 points per game, the fourth-highest figure in the league. The only teams above them are the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Utah Jazz, all legit title contenders.

There is a large gap between these two teams in almost every offensive statistic. The Pels are top five in the league in field goals made, field goal percentage, free throws made, and offensive rebounds. The Heat are in the bottom half of the league in each of those stats, and are dead last in field-goals made.

A statistic that exemplifies how different these offense are: The Pelicans scored 120+ points in seven of their last ten matchups. The Heat have scored 120+ points a total of six times all season.

The problem for the Pels has been the defensive end. If Butler and Adebayo don’t play today, a huge weight will lift ff New Orlean’s back. The Heat’s star duo combine for nearly 40% of the team’s points per game, and it’s doubtful Miami’s offense will be able to keep pace with the Pels without them.

Final Heat-Pelicans Prediction & Pick

The Pelicans have been frighteningly inconsistent of late. In a ten-game span, they have wins against Utah and Boston, and losses to the Bulls and the Pistons. The Heat offer a much safer bet, but Adebayo and Butler’s availability is the key factor here. I am hesitant to bet on the Pels in this spot, so the play is to wait on that Heat injury report and make a bet from there.