Heat vs. Warriors Odds
|Over/Under||226.5 (-112 / -108)|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat (2-3) take on Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors (2-2) tonight in a battle of East vs. West. Both teams are off to relatively slow starts, but I’m only concerned for one of the teams.
The Warriors, are coming off a disappointing blowout loss to the Phoenix Suns who seemed out for blood against the defending champs. Golden State’s slow first week seems to be mostly effort-driven. Historically they haven’t cared about the regular season until midway through, especially as defending champions.
For Miami, however, their lackluster start could be the result of something a bit more worrisome. While I’d like to back the Warriors in this matchup, I’ll be looking towards the total. Let’s dive into both sides of tonight’s matchup.
Heat Offense and Defense Look Uninspiring
The Heat appear to have regressed somewhat on both sides of the ball since we last saw them.
They haven’t been known for their amazing offense since the Butler era began, but Miami has been at least above-average every year but one in that span … until this season.
Since Butler first started his tenure in Miami, they’ve had the seventh, 18th, and 12th-best offense respectively. This season, they rank 23rd on offense, per NBA.com. However, their offense is trending upwards after last night’s game in Portland, rising from 28th in the league.
On the defensive side, the departure of P.J. Tucker in the offseason has, so far, resulted in a defense that does not look quite as formidable as past years, but still ranks 11th in defensive rating (108.8).
Butler and Kyle Lowry are getting older, but can still contribute defensively, while Bam Adebayo is nearing, if not ascending to his defensive prime.
The rest of head coach Erik Spoelstra’s roster choices often sacrifice defense in favor of shooting. Wings like Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro leave much to be desired on that side of the ball, despite a financial incentive in Herro’s contract if he wins Defensive Player of the Year. (I think 42-year-old Udonis Haslem has a better chance at winning Rookie of the Year than Herro does at DPOY.)
So how exactly does Miami matchup defensively against the Warriors?
On defense, Miami ranks 21st in shooting frequency from both mid-range (33.8%) and 3-point range (36.7%), two areas in which the Warriors excel.
The Heat allow the fourth-fewest shots at the rim (29.5%), according to CleaningTheGlass.com. The problem is the Warriors take the fewest shots at the rim out of the entire league at only 22.5%.
The only defensive metric in which Miami has been elite this season, is defending the mid-range, but Golden State is equally as elite on the offensive side, with both teams ranking third overall.
The Heat defense will have particular trouble with the Warriors’ offense that is a tough matchup across the board.
Warriors Bench Unit Has Holes to Fill
The Warriors are coming off of a 105-134 blowout loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday that saw Klay Thompson ejected for the first time in his career. Like Miami, Golden State has struggled on both sides of the ball, ranking 21st in offense (110.1) and 22nd in defense rating (114.8), according to NBA.com.
Unsurprisingly, those struggles are largely unrelated to the Warriors’ starting unit of Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney. Those five can boast offensive efficiency stats in the 100th percentile in differential (+39.7), points per possession (134.5), eFG% (64.1%) and TOV% (9.7%).
The struggles have come when the second unit enters the game. Instead of lighting the world on fire as many expected, presumptive Sixth Man of the Year-winner, Jordan Poole, has opened the season with a differential of -47.
While there will certainly be a healthy dose of positive regression for Poole on the offensive end, I wouldn’t expect his defensive woes to improve any time soon. In fact, his defensive efficiency stats are currently better than his offensive efficiency, and much less likely to regress as significantly.
Despite Poole’s plus-minus in the first percentile of the league, he isn’t even the worst on his team in that category. In fact, he’s not even the second-worst. That honor belongs to James Wiseman (-53.1) who just barely edges out his teammate Jonathan Kuminga (-53.6).
While I lean to the Warriors for the side, I likely won’t bet them unless this line falls to the -5 range. Their lack of bench cohesion and some recent head-to-head ATS trends are a few things keeping me away from the Warriors in this matchup.
On the season, the Golden State is only 1-3 ATS overall and 1-2 ATS at the Chase Center. In their last eight meetings — since Butler joined the Heat — Golden State is 2-6 ATS when playing Miami.
While I lean to their side, there are too many questions surrounding the Warriors’ motivation and their history against the Heat, who are on the second night of a back-to-back.
Tonight, I’m looking to the over for a few key reasons. The Warriors are currently the fastest-paced team in the league at 108.6 possessions per game and the over has hit in all of their games this season.
While the Warriors are a fast-paced team, the Heat are not. They rank just 23rd in pace (97.7) and are 2-3 to the under. So why look at an over?
The total has gone over in six of Golden State’s last eight home games. And in their last eight games against Miami — since the Jimmy Butler era began — the total has gone over in all but one game.
Playing slow is nothing unusual for the Heat and yet they have trended significantly to the over in the past four years. Since the 2019-20 season, Miami has averaged 20th in Pace, however the over is 132-97-3 (57.6%).
Finally, I’ll end with two Miami trends from the Jimmy Buckets era that I discovered on Bet Labs. When Miami is on the road and on their second night of a back-to-back, the over is 15-8-0 (65.2%).
And in Heat games where the previous game went under, the over is 37-22-2 (62.7%).
Pick: Over 226.5 (-110) | Lean: Warriors if it gets to -5