Editor’s Note: The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that LeBron James and Lonnie Walker IV will rest in Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat. For updated injury news, be sure to check out our FantasyLabs news page.
Heat vs. Lakers Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The second game on ESPN’s Wednesday night doubleheader features the Los Angeles Lakers hosting the Miami Heat. The Heat are finally getting healthy, while the Lakers, already without one superstar, could be down their two best player tonight.
Advantage certainly is with the Heat as they are four-point road favorites despite holding a 9-10 road record. There are a few ways to attack this game even with question marks to the status of LeBron James.
Let’s dive into the Heat vs. Lakers odds and see where we can derive some value in this matchup.
Heat Starting to Roll Into the New Year
After missing several games in the month of December, both Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are healthy and ready to roll. At least one of Butler or Adebayo has been out in 16 of the Heat’s 38 games this season. They were both in the lineup last game and off the injury report for this showdown too.
In their meeting exactly one week ago, the Heat won 112-98 as Butler and Adebayo each scored over 20 points and the other three starters also had double-digit points. Outside of Butler and Adebayo, Tyler Herro has been sensational averaging a career-high 21.5 points per game while shooting 45.2% from the field this year.
Moving into the starting lineup has catapulting Herro’s production as he is also averaging career-highs in both rebounds and assists. He hit a game-winning 3-pointer two games ago while also scoring 23 or more points in three-straight games. Outside of these three stars, the Heat role players all provide a little bit of everything from shooting from the perimeter to defending very well.
Despite the Heat playing at the third-slowest Pace in the league, this game should make them play much faster as the Lakers rank second in Pace this season. They are allowing 117.6 points per game, which also ranks as the fourth-highest in the league. This is a great matchup for the Heat to continue their hot streak. They should have no problem controlling this game tonight.
Lakers Need LeBron James on the Floor
Playing without Anthony Davis has become natural for the Lakers at this point. Davis has missed 12 games already this season and is expected to miss more as he continues to deal with a foot injury. Not only is Davis on the injury report, but James is questionable with ankle soreness, which has nagged him this season. If James cannot play, that would make this spread skyrocket to the Heat.
James has been spectacular without Davis this season. He has turned back the clock and is averaging a herculean 34.8 points per game in the 10 games that James has played without the Lakers star big man in the lineup. James has put up back-to-back games scoring 43 and 47 points while shooting an absurd 64.2% from the field. The 38-year-old can still play at an elite level.
Outside of James and Davis, Russell Westbrook has shown a ceiling from time to time. He still has triple-double upside even though he is coming off the bench. Westbrook played 11 minutes last game due to foot injury, but he is probable for tonight and will need to play against this difficult Heat defense.
The Heat are tied for seventh this season in Defensive Rating (111.4), entering tonight’s games. They are allowing 109.4 points per game, which is tied for the third-best in the league. The Lakers’ only game against the Heat went under the total as the L.A. was held to 98 points.
Similar to the Heat, the Lakers have plenty of role players who don’t do a whole lot. They better hope that James is able to play, otherwise this game could get out of hand in a hurry.
With this being a nationally televised game on ESPN,I expect that James is going to be able to play tonight. However, if for some reason James is unable to play, this Heat spread could rise even up to double-digits.
There are two ways to attack this game from a betting angle. Take the Heat -4 right now. They are the much healthier and simply better team and if James is ruled out, you struck gold. Even if James plays, this is a very strong number.
The second way, which is what we will focus on is taking the under. Sure, the Lakers are averaging 116.1 points per game, but the Heat will control the tempo. They are averaging a league-low 109 points per game while playing at a snail’s Pace. Take this number even if it dips down to 222.5 points.
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