Pacers-Heat Preview: Can Indiana Get by Shorthanded Miami?

Pacers at Heat Odds

Pacers Odds -2
Heat Odds +2
Over/Under 208.5
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Indiana Pacers will face the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, albeit without their full complement of players.

The Heat have been better on the season as a whole and are the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference with an 18-13 record, but enter this contest as an underdog.

So who has the edge in this matchup? Let’s break it down.

Pacers Due for Positive Regression

The Pacers have removed Malcolm Brogdon (Achilles) from their injury report so they should be relatively healthy for tonight’s game, however, this has not equated to wins. This roster is in turmoil and it seems like everyone is subject of a trade rumor.

Despite the rumors, Indiana has played into some bad luck. They have the 10th best point differential in the league, +2.2, but they have the worst expected win differential -4.6 wins, per Cleaning the Glass. They almost need to regress to the mean, and over the last two weeks they are 4-2 while outscoring their opponents by 6 points per 100 possessions. Their offense is clicking and they’ve been able to take care of business.

When they have managed to keep Brogdon, LeVert, Sabonis, and Turner on the floor, the Pacers have an elite point differential of +14.7 while scoring 118.0 points per 100 possessions.

Unfortunately, these four have only shared the floor for 523 possessions this season, about 18% of the team’s non-garbage-time minutes.

Heat Will Be Shorthanded, but Defense Remains Strong

The Miami Heat have been bit by the injury bug as of late and they continue to miss Bam Adebayo, who is recovering from thumb surgery, Markieff Morris (neck) who does not have a clear timetable for a return, and Jimmy Butler has now missed six straight games with a back injury and remains out.

But wait, there’s more! Caleb Martin is still in the league’s health and safety protocols, and P.J. Tucker left Sunday’s game with a left knee injury and is listed as out for tonight’s game. With Tucker out tonight, we should see more of KZ Okpala and Marcus Garrett. Finally, Tyler Herro missed Sunday’s game with a quad contusion and should be considered questionable for tonight’s matchup.

The Heat have continued to perform despite the absence of multiple stars and they have a +1.9 point differential over the last two weeks in large part due to their defense, which has continued to hold up despite the loss of Bam Adebayo.

The Heat have held their opponents to 107.0 points per 100 possessions the last two weeks, which is actually 0.9 points better than their season average, per Cleaning the Glass.

The main problem for this team if Herro sits tonight is scoring. While Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and Dewayne Dedmon have filled in admirably and been DFS darlings, this team is a shell of itself. They’d be down to just Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson from their traditional starting unit and they’re pretty deep down the depth chart otherwise.

Pacers-Heat Pick

This is a matchup where I think we need to throw the records out the window. Although Miami defeated Indiana just a few weeks ago, the shooting splits were the difference. Miami shot well about average with a 53.1% field goal percentage including 47.1% from 3-point range compared to the Pacers 25% from deep.

Indiana is the healthier team right now, and with the edge that they have in their starting unit and depth, I’ll back them to take care of business tonight.

Pick: Pacers -1.5 (FanDuel)