The Miami Heat (23-15) look to end a two-game slide against the Portland Trail Blazers (14-22) this Wednesday evening. Despite missing its best players, Portland scored a season-high 136 points to beat the Hawks on Monday night in a thriller.
The Trail Blazers (13-23 ATS) are a 1-point favorite over the Heat (21-17 ATS) at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. Portland has the worst overall spread record in the league this year, but the Trail Blazers are 9-7 ATS as a home favorite. However, Miami is 11-2 ATS as an underdog this season, the best in the NBA.
Miami Heat vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Wednesday, January 05, 2022 – 10:00 PM EST at Moda Center
Who Is Playing?
Between COVID and normal injuries, this season has been a challenge for many teams. Neither the Heat nor the Trail Blazers will have their best player available on Wednesday night due to injury. Miami’s Jimmy Butler is out with an ankle injury he sustained against the Warriors on Monday night. Portland’s Damian Lillard will miss the second game in a row with an abdominal injury that could keep him out for an extended period of time.
The Heat are 9-6 SU in games where Butler is inactive this season. Butler has a career-high 27.1 PER this season, but Miami is actually minus-3.8 points with him on the court compared to being off. A season ago, Butler’s on-off difference was plus-10.8 points.
Miami is also still without center Bam Adebayo, who hasn’t played since the end of November. Three-point specialist Duncan Robinson will miss his fourth game in a row in the COVID protocol.
Portland is 2-5 when Lillard does not play this season. While it has not been a good season for Lillard, Portland is plus-6.4 points with him on the court as he helps the offense so much with CJ McCollum (lung) still out as well.
Forward Larry Nance is another player who could potentially be out for Portland after an inconclusive COVID test. He has started the last 10 games for Portland, averaging 8.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
Each Team’s Last Game
Portland began 2022 with an exciting 136-131 win over Atlanta on Monday despite Trae Young scoring 56 points. With Lillard inactive, Anfernee Simons stole the show for Portland, scoring 43 points in a game dedicated to his late grandfather. Simons had three 20-point games this season coming into Monday night, but he exploded in the moment with the best game of his career as he hit nine threes and had seven assists, his most since his rookie season in 2018-19.
Portland won despite Atlanta shooting 54.5% from the field. The Trail Blazers are now 1-14 this season when allowing an opponent to shoot better than 51%. Simons got help from Norman Powell, Nassir Little, and Jusuf Nurkic all scoring more than 20 points too in Portland’s best scoring output of the year.
This great shooting effort came after a New Year’s Eve loss to the Lakers where Portland shot a season-worst 35.3% from the field. Look for a game on Wednesday where Portland shoots somewhere in the mid-40s at best. Portland is 7-22 when shooting under 48.5% this season. Portland will see a much better defense from Miami as the Heat rank No. 8 in Defensive Rating compared to No. 26 for Atlanta. The Heat are one of the slowest-paced teams and rank fourth in points allowed.
The Heat are 1-2 halfway through this six-game road trip. Butler’s injury during the Golden State loss on Monday did not help matters. Tyler Herro, who has started the last three games, has been incredible at times this season, but the Warriors held him in check. Herro was 7-of-23 from the field and scored 18 points. Over his last three games, Herro is shooting 31.7% from the field and 27.3% from three. Miami is 10-2 when Herro scores at least 25 points this season, but he needs to break his shooting slump with Butler and Robinson out.
While Portland is much better at home this season, I like the Trail Blazers to cool down offensively, especially Simons on the three-ball. Look for Herro to step up and trust the better defensive team and the better-coached team from Miami to get the job done. The Heat are also 7-2 ATS as a road underdog this year, the best record in the NBA. Take the Heat for your NBA picks this Wednesday.
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