NBA Odds: Heat Rockets Prediction, Odds and Picks

The Miami Heat (14-15) visit the Houston Rockets (9-18) Thursday night. Promotion ends at 8:10pm ET. Below we continue our NBA odds series with a Heat Rockets prediction and selection.

Miami has won three of their last four games, ranking eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Heat are 9-19-1 against the spread with 52% of their games over. Houston has also won three of its last four games but still sits 14th in the Western Conference. The Rockets are 14-12-1 against the spread while 52% of their games are down. This will be the first of two meetings between the teams. Last season, Miami won both games by double digits.

Here are Heat-Rockets’ NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel

NBA Odds: Heat Rockets Odds

Miami Heat: -3.5 (-114)

Houston Missiles: +3.5 (-106)

About: 218 (-110)

Below: 218 (-110)

Why the heat could cover the spread

Miami has a quick turnaround tonight after clinching a two-point win over Oklahoma City last night. The Heat haven’t played by their usual standards but are still firmly in the playoff picture. That’s not thanks to their offense, though, as they’re only ranked 29th in the points standings and 27th in the offensive standings. Miami’s success can be attributed to its defense, which ranks fifth in points allowed and seventh in defense rating. They don’t do themselves any favors on the glass, ranking 24th in rebound difference and rebound rate.

The Heat are expected to bring Jimmy Butler back tonight after the veteran sat out last night’s play. Butler’s return to the lineup will be a welcome addition to a weak Miami offense. For the season, Butler averages 21.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 5.9 APG. His 1.7 SPG would rank in the top ten among qualified players. Jimmy Buckets was also remarkably efficient, shooting 52% from the field, 37% from threes, and 84% from the line. While not immune to the effects of Father Time, Butler remains an elite top-end player in the league. Houston is terrible on defense and doesn’t have anyone with the size and strength to contain Butler. The last time Butler visited Houston, he lost 37 points to an eventual win in Miami. While it may be far-fetched to expect such an outing, it’s certainly not out of the question.

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Speaking of players who tore up the Rockets last season, Tyler Herro could be in for a similarly big night in this matchup. While Butler dominated the first game against Houston, Herro took the spotlight after a 31-point performance in the second meeting. Like Butler, Herro could be in for a repeat tonight, especially given his recent performances. Herro is averaging 20.2 PPG on 45% shooting for the season. He came off one of his best games of the season last night as he scored 35 points in a narrow win over The Thunder. Houston is a similar defensive team to Oklahoma City — the combo guard is gearing up for a big performance tonight.

Why the missiles could cover the spread

Houston is carrying a five-game home win streak into tonight’s encounter and is sure to add Miami to the playoff defeated list. The Rockets have poor offense, ranking 25th in rating and 26th in offensive rating. They’re not much better defensively, ranking 21st in points allowed and 26th in defensive rating. However, Houston excels on the glass. The Rockets place third in both rebound differential and rebound rate.

Despite Houston’s poor record and underlying metrics, they’ve been playing their best basketball of the season lately — particularly with back-to-back wins over the Bucks and Suns. Sophomore phenom Jalen Green led the charge in both wins, as he has done all year. Green leads the team with 21.8 PPG, coming from 26- and 30-point games. Its success correlates strongly with the team’s chances of winning. In Houston’s nine wins this season, Green has averaged 27.4 PPG on 50% shooting. In her 18 losses, those numbers drop to 18.9 PPG on 38% shooting. However, he has been much better at home, where he averages 25.3 PPG. If Green plays well, the Rockets have a great chance of not only covering the spread, but winning outright.

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While Green will be responsible for much of the hitting rate, center Alperen Sengun could well be the determining factor in Houston covering or not. The 6’11” tall averages 14.4 PPG, but it’s his work on the glass that’s most relevant tonight. Sengun has a 10.7 RPG average at home and has a 16 rebound performance against Phoenix. Miami are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league – setting Sengun up for a potentially game-changing performance.

Final Heat Rockets Prediction & Selection

While Miami will play in the second game of a back-to-back game, they should freshly bring back Jimmy Butler. When that’s the case, I like to see the Heat get back on track and deal with an underperforming Rockets team.

Final Heat-Rockets Prediction & Pick: Miami Heat -3.5 (-114)

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