The Miami Heat (2-3) travel to the opposite coast to play the Golden State Warriors (2-2) on Thursday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 10:10 pm ET. Below we continue our NBA odds series with a Heat-Warriors prediction and pick.
Miami is 2-3 fresh off a convincing win over the Blazers on Wednesday night. However, the Heat are just 1-4 against the spread (ATS) after covering 57% of their games last season. Two of Miami’s five games have gone under – a flip from last year’s 55% over rate.
Golden State is 2-2 following a blowout loss to the Suns on Tuesday. The Warriors are 1-3 ATS after covering 54% of games last season. All four of the Warriors’ matchups have gone over – a contrast to last season’s 54% under rate.
Last year the Warriors took both matchups between the teams. They won by seven and 14-point margins. Both games went under tonight’s 225.5-point line.
Here are the Heat-Warriors NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NBA Odds: Heat-Warriors Odds
Miami Heat: +6.5 (-114)
Golden State Warriors: -6.5 (-106)
Over: 227 (-106)
Under: 227 (-114)
Why The Heat Could Cover The Spread
The Miami Heat have been pretty much what they were expected to be outside of their losing record. The Heat have a below-average offense (27th in points per game) and a strong defense (seventh in points allowed). The Heat will get their second shot at beating a true contender on Thursday after losing to the Celtics last week.
Not only do the Heat play strong team defense, but they also have a number of individual defenders that can wreak havoc on opposing offenses. First among those is center Bam Adebayo. Bam finished fourth in Defensive Player of the Year voting last year and has been stellar again to start this season. Although Bam has only blocked 0.6 shots per game this year, he’s been the anchor of the defense and leads the team in rebounding. Bam showed out in his lone appearance against the Warriors last year to the tune of 25 points and nine rebounds – something to keep in mind when making a Heat-Warriors prediction.
Offensively, the Heat have a multitude of options to go to but primarily rely on forward Jimmy Butler and guard Tyler Herro. Butler is one of the most consistent players in the league. He’s averaging a hair under 22 points per game this season while also contributing on the glass (6.4 RPG) and as a distributor (4.4 assists per game). Herro, meanwhile, has looked dynamic yet again with the ball in his hands and has been a surprising contributor on the glass. He’s averaging 19.6 points and 7.8 rebounds. While Herro hasn’t shot particularly well from three (34.3%), last year’s 40% is more in tune with his actual abilities as a shooter.
Why The Warriors Could Cover The Spread
The defending champion Golden State Warriors have had a sluggish start to their championship defense. While Golden State’s offense has been humming (4th in points per game), their defense has been nothing short of atrocious. The once-feared Warrior defense is giving up the most points in the league through four games and have the third-worst rebounding differential. While Miami’s stagnant offense may not be too difficult for Golden State to handle, the Warriors will have to rebound if they want to cover tonight.
The Warriors don’t have one key rebounder as no player averaged more than seven rebounds per game. However, if seven-footer James Wiseman can get some extended run he could be a difference-maker in that aspect. The former second-overall pick has finally seen consistent minutes after dealing with injuries his first two years and he’s responded well. Despite not playing more than 20 minutes in any game this season, Wiseman has averaged 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds. Facing Miami’s skilled big man Bam Adebayo, coach Steve Kerr best leans on his young skyscraper early and often.
This could also be a get-right game for Warriors’ guards Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole. Both sharpshooters have struggled in the early stages of the season with Thompson shooting 29% from three and Poole shooting 33%. We’ve seen both players have extended heat checks in the past and they’ll need to figure things out against Miami’s stingy defense. Thompson in particular could be due for a breakout performance after he was ejected from Golden State’s last outing.
Final Heat-Warriors Prediction & Pick
The aging Heat will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back on their west coast road trip while Golden State will be highly motivated after getting routed out of Phoenix. This is a great spot for the Warriors to get right against a presumably weary Miami squad.
Final Heat-Warriors Prediction & Pick: Golden State Warriors -6.5 (-106)