Blazers vs. Heat Odds
|Trail Blazers Odds||+3|
|Moneyline||+132 / -154|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday morning via FanDuel.|
The Portland Trail Blazers face the Miami Heat on Thursday in Miami, with this marking the first meeting between these teams this season.
This will be Portland’s first of a four-game Eastern Conference road trip after Tuesday’s 116-112 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets. On the other side, Miami has lost four consecutive games after its blowout loss to the Phoenix Suns two days ago.
Can the Heat turn it around when they host the Trail Blazers as four-point favorites? Let’s take a look at what might be in store.
Portland Trail Blazers
If the Trail Blazers cover or pull the upset, they need their defense to step up and get an efficient performance from CJ McCollum. Teammates Nassir Little and Anfernee Simons (COVID-19 protocols) will not play, with Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) and Zach Collins (ankle) still unavailable due to injury.
Portland is more than capable of winning the game with its offense, but it will need to be better defensively as its 118.3 defensive rating ranks second-worst in the league. The Trail Blazers are allowing the fourth-most shots at the rim (37.0% of shots), and must limit easy scoring chances inside and force the Heat to make shots.
The Trail Blazers will also need their star duo of McCollum and Damian Lillard at its best. Portland has lost consecutive games, as these two have struggled with their three-point shooting over the last two games. In Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks, they combined to shoot 0 of 12 on 3-pointers and scored just 29 total points (they’re averaging 53.9 combined points per game).
CJ McCollum just makes it look so easy sometimes. Any time a player sprints to the back dribble to get space it's a problem. pic.twitter.com/jkRYu8OuvF
— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) March 24, 2021
In Tuesday’s loss to the Nets, they shot a combined 7 of 26 on threes and scored a combined 38 points. They need to be much better to win against the Heat’s elite defense, especially if they end up trading away any of their secondary scorers before the deadline.
If the Heat win and cover, they need Jimmy Butler at his best and start making more open 3-pointers than they have as of late.
Goran Dragic (back) and Avery Bradley (calf) are questionable to play, while KZ Okpala is sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols.
The Heat’s leading 3-point shooters (in attempts) have all seen their shooting regress this season. Duncan Robinson leads the team with 8.5 3-point shots per game, but his shooting percentage has fallen from 44.6% last season to 38.2% this season.
HEAT 3P shooting last 4 games vs Season:
L4: 3.5 – 15.5 (22.6%) LAST
Season: 6.1 – 16.1 (37.6%)
L4: 4.8 – 12.3 (38.8%)
Season: 4.6 – 13.5 (33.8%)
L4: 1.3 – 7.3 (17.2%)
Season: 1.8 – 6.6 (27.7%)
— The Common Sense HEAT Fan (@TheMadHEATFan) March 25, 2021
Kelly Olynyk (5.7 3PA) and Tyler Herro (5.6 3PA) are second and third in 3-point attempts, but have also regressed as Olynyk has dropped from 40.6% to 31.7% on threes this season, while Herro has gone from 38.9% to 31.2 percent.
Their collective regression is a big reason why the Heat went from having the second-highest 3-point shooting percentage in the NBA at 38.6% to the third-worst this season at 34.7 percent. Miami has struggled mightily over its four-game losing streak, as it’s made just 14 of 62 attempts on wide-open threes, per NBA tracking stats.
The Heat’s 22.6% accuracy on open threes since last Wednesday ranks dead-last in the league, and they’ll need to improve significantly on this against the poor Trail Blazers’ defense to come out with the win.
With the Heat’s shooters struggling, they will need their non-shooting stars Butler and Bam Adebayo to step up, especially if they ship out some of their shooters at the trade deadline.
Butler’s ability to make plays on both ends of the court is unparalleled on this Heat team, and they will need his playmaking more than usual on offense if Dragic remains out with lower back spasms.
Adebayo is coming off of a quiet scoring night where he finished with 16 points on only nine shots against the Suns. Adebayo did a nice job as a distributor in that game with six assists, but expect him to be much more aggressive offensively against a shorthanded Trail Blazers front court with a favorable matchup against Enes Kanter.
The Heat’s offense will get a huge boost if they can get more consistent scoring from Adebayo rather than relying so much on their outside shooters, who are mired in a slump.
Trail Blazers-Heat Pick
With this game happening just hours after the trade deadline, I would recommend waiting until it passes before placing your wagers.
Due to the fact both teams’ best shooters are in slumps, I like the value on the Trail Blazers and the points. I trust Lillard and McCollum to bounce back from their consecutive off-nights more than I do the Heat’s offensive weapons.
However, if Miami keeps all of its slumping shooters, I believe the deadline passing will be weight off their shoulders, creating more value on the over.
While I like the value on the Trail Blazers and the points, I love the value on Bam Adebayo to score 20+ points at +104 odds via FanDuel.
The spread might change with potential trades, but Adebayo’s favorable matchup against Kanter and other Portland bigs will remain regardless of what happens. Adebayo is normally undersized against the opposition, but the Trail Blazers don’t have the size available to keep him from being aggressive inside, plus he has a quickness edge over Kanter.
After former teammate Jae Crowder spoke to Adebayo about needing to step up as a leader after the Heat’s blowout, I expect him to lead by example and be more aggressive to help lift the offense out of their current slump.
Pick: Bam Adebayo to score 20+ points (+104)