Mavericks vs. Heat NBA Picks and Odds Analysis

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The Miami Heat have clawed their way out of the basement of the Eastern Conference playoff standings and now sit in the 6th seed and away from the play-in tournament. Can they grab their fourth straight win tonight, or is it bounce-back season for Dallas?

Dallas Mavericks vs. Miami Heat

Tuesday, May 04, 2021 – 08:00 PM EDT at American Airlines Arena

Mavs’ Frontcourt Deficit

Going up against the Heat in Miami is tough enough for this Mavs team. Dallas does not have a ton of frontcourt depth and it could get even worse tonight. Kristaps Porzingis is likely out again for the Mavs and that is a huge loss against this Heat team. Now, Bam Adebayo will be able to help out more on defense instead of focusing solely on Porzingis all game, which should really ramp up the Miami help side defense. On top of that, the Mavs could be without Maxi Kleber too, who is officially listed as questionable for tonight’s contest.

This thins out Dallas a lot down low and makes me think the Heat may be undervalued here ATS. However, the better play for this game is in the first half odds in my opinion. The Heat and Mavs both have been extremely good offensively in the first halves of their games this season. While defense has been sporadic for both clubs in the first two quarters, offense has not. So far this season, the Mavs rank 12th-best in first half offense, scoring an average of 114 points per 100 possessions in the first 24 minutes. While Miami ranks 20th in that category, both teams have been ramping up their first half offenses over their last five games.

If you compare the last five first halves for both clubs, they rank 5th and 11th in first half offensive rating. With the Mavs’ issues in the frontcourt, they could be playing very small tonight, which could also lead to them playing much faster and worse on defense than they usually do. I think that means the first half over has some value.

The Sharp Pick

These two teams met way back on New Year’s Day and of course, in true New Year’s Day fashion, both teams looked as if they had had a bit too much fun the night before celebrating the end of 2020. The final score of that one was 93-83 and the first half saw only 77 points scored. However, things should be different here. The Mavs are averaging nearly 60 first half points per game over their last five, while the Heat are averaging over 60 first half points in their last five. On top of that, Miami has struggled in the first halves of their home games this season, with a defensive rating that ranks 19th overall.

If the Mavs’ offense is ramped up and playing faster without Porzingis, and potentially very shallow up front, the Heat will get whatever they want in the paint, which will force Dallas to speed up their offensive pace if they fall behind early. More fast breaks and more pace should help turn the tide on offense from their first matchup. What scares me away from the full game line is these two team’s track records in non-conference games. They are combined 32-21 cashing the under in non-conference games this season, but Heat are also 15-11 cashing the over as a home favorite this season. Miami is also 5-1 cashing the over in their last six home games against the West. In those six games, the average first half total score was 113.

My Pick: OVER 109.5 1st Half at BetOnline