Mavericks vs. Heat Preview: How to Bet Miami in this Marquee Matchup

Roberto Arguello breaks down Tuesday's NBA matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat game and shares his favorite bet.

Mavericks vs. Heat Odds

Mavericks Odds +3.5
Heat Odds -3.5
Over/Under 209
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Mavericks face the Heat in Miami on Tuesday night in a matchup between two of the hottest teams in the NBA.

The Mavericks entered the 2022 calendar year at just 17-18 on the season, but they have since gone 16-6, including wins in four of their last five games as Luka Doncic has returned to his peak form.

The Heat are 14-7 in the 2022 calendar year and sit in first place in the packed Eastern Conference standings. Since Kyle Lowry returned to action against the Spurs on February 3rd, the Heat have won five straight games with all three of Lowry, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo available in each.

With both teams having positive momentum riding into tipoff, where does the value lie with the Heat as 3.5-point home favorites?

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Will the Mavericks Give Doncic More Help?

If the Mavericks cover or win outright, it will be because Doncic continues to play incredible basketball while shooters step up around him.

Reggie Bullock (hip) is doubtful to play Tuesday while Trey Burke (shoulder) is questionable. Marquese Chriss (knee) and Theo Pinson (finger) are out while Tim Hardaway Jr. (foot) remains out indefinitely.

Doncic is coming off of the best two-game stretch of his career after putting up Wilt-like numbers in consecutive games against the Clippers: 48 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds per game. He earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors as he is in much better shape than he started the season, and his 3-point shot is beginning to fall (43.1% on 9.7 attempts per game in the last six games).

However, the Mavericks need more than just Doncic against an elite defensive team like the Miami Heat. Offensively, Doncic and Jalen Brunson have been consistent, but the Mavericks need more from others. In the last two games, just one Maverick — Bullock — has scored more than 11 points besides them, and Bullock may not play against Miami.

The Mavericks also got just four total points from their bench in Saturday’s loss to the Clippers, so getting something out of new acquisitions Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans in their Mavericks debuts Tuesday night will be key.

With Bullock likely out and Hardaway Jr. out indefinitely, the Mavs need shooters to step up on the wing and help cash in Doncic’s potential assists against a Heat team that allows opponents to take the highest percentage of 3-point shots in the NBA (42.5% of opponent shots, per Cleaning The Glass).

How Butler’s Status Impacts the Heat

If the Heat win and cover, it will be because Butler plays and the Heat’s big three continues to thrive together, or because Lowry’s play lifts those around him in Butler’s potential absence, especially the play of Adebayo and the Heat’s shooters, Duncan Robinson and Max Strus.

Butler (right shoulder strain) and Caleb Martin (Achilles) are questionable Tuesday. Tyler Herro (knee) and Markieff Morris (neck) are out while Victor Oladipo (quadriceps) remains out indefinitely.

With Herro already out, Butler would be a big loss if he is unavailable as the Heat would miss their most potent scorer in each of their starting and bench units. The Heat do have other capable shooters in Robinson and Strus without Herro available, but neither of them provides the same threat as a driver to get to the rim.

However, Lowry has done an excellent job of elevating the play of others up and down the Heat’s roster, and he will play an even more important role if Butler is out. The limited Dallas frontcourt also presents a favorable matchup for Adebayo, and he will need to be aggressive and look to score frequently, especially if Butler can’t go.

Butler helps the Heat get easy buckets with his patient mismatch-hunting and ability to get to the free throw line consistently. Martin would also potentially be an important loss in this matchup if he can’t play as he gives the Heat another athletic body to throw at Doncic along with Lowry, P.J. Tucker, Adebayo and possibly Butler.

Mavericks-Heat Pick

After playing seven of their last eight games at home, the Mavericks finally hit the road on Tuesday in Miami. Will Dallas be locked in mentally as it hits the road for the first time on a short week because of the All-Star break while also playing the day after Valentine’s Day?

The Mavericks are getting incredible play from Doncic, and Brunson has been playing consistently as well, but the rest of the roster, especially if Bullock likely can’t go, leaves some big questions unanswered about who will pick up the scoring load that lacks perimeter shooting options without THJ available and Porzingis recently traded.

However, the Mavericks have continued to play elite defense as they rank second in the league in Defensive Rating (105.2) in the new year.

The Heat have a handful of capable (at least as capable as possible) defenders to throw at Doncic, and having Butler lurking off-ball would be extremely valuable. If Butler plays, expect the deeper Heat team to prevail despite Herro’s absence, and take Miami to win as 3.5-point favorites at BetMGM with value down to -5 for one unit.

However, if Butler is out, my level of confidence drops significantly on Miami because the Heat will be without two of their main offensive threats against one of the best defenses in the NBA. If Butler can’t go, put a half unit on the under at 209.5 at BetMGM with value down to 206.5.

Alternatively, if you want to be bold with Butler out, wait to bet the game live and take the Heat as live underdogs on the moneyline for a half unit.

Pick: Heat -3.5 if Butler plays | Under 209.5 if Butler is out