Portland Trail Blazers vs. Miami Heat – March 25, 2021
The Trail Blazers travel to Miami hoping to turn down the Heat in this crunch-time matchup. Third, in the Northwest takes on third in the Southeast Division in one of the season’s closest NBA contests. A win for Portland can see them climb to second, and a win for Miami could see them rise to the top, so there is plenty of incentive to win this one.
Much like their Division positions, their recent head-to-head record is close, with both teams winning three of the last six encounters. However, the Heat have won the previous two in Miami and will be hoping third times a charm tonight.
Here are the game odds, my team analysis, and betting prediction.
Trail Blazers vs. Heat Match Odds
Much like the public, the bookmakers cannot split these two teams. However, the points total looks very low and could offer the most value tonight. Over their previous ten meetings, the two teams have combined to average 215 points per game which would see them over the points total comfortably tonight. They are also combining for an average of 220 points per game this season.
Trail Blazers News
The Trail Blazers come into this game on the back of two straight defeats against Dallas and Brooklyn. The last time they lost back-to-back games, they went on a losing streak of four matches, so they will want to turn things around as quickly as possible this time around.
Their record on the road has been decent as they have recorded 11 wins against nine defeats. However, what is concerning is they have only picked up one win from their previous five road trips, which was against the struggling Timberwolves. But they failed to back that victory up and lost to Minnesota the very next night.
Here are the latest betting trends for Portland:
|ATS||They have only won two of their previous nine games.|
|Total||Four of their last six matches have gone under the betting total.|
|ATS||Portland is 6-3 in their previous nine encounters with Miami.|
|ATS||The Trail Blazers have lost four of their last five matches on the road.|
|Total||Five of their previous six games played in Miami against the Heat have gone over the points total.|
|SU||Portland is 9-4 in their last 13 matches against opponents from the Eastern Conference.|
|SU||They have only lost one of their previous seven games when playing against teams from the Southeast Division.|
The above confirms that the Trail Blazers come into this game in bad shape. However, their record against teams from the east coast and, in particular, the Southeast Division will give them hope of turning their fortunes around.
Despite having one of the worst field goal percentages in the league, the Trail Blazers have a good offense. They are scoring at only 44% this season, but that hasn’t stopped them from being ranked tenth in attack this season. However, they can shot, which is evident when you look at their success rate from the free-throw line with is currently the second-highest in the NBA this season.
Their biggest strength in attack is their game management, which, unfortunately for them, hasn’t been seen much recently. They usually dictate the game’s tempo and retain possession well, which has led to them making the least amount of turnovers in the league this season. Surprisingly for a team that uses the ball so well, they don’t make many assists, probably due to them choosing to drive to the basket more often than not.
Damian Lillard has been their most potent attacking threat this season, and by most player’s standards, he has done well recently. However, by his own sky-high standards, he has fallen short in the Trail Blazers’ last two games. He can’t seem to find his range from deep and has only made 20% of his three-point shots in those two games.
Another player struggling for form is CJ McCollum. He and Lillard have accounted for most of Portland’s three-pointers this season, and therefore, with the paid of them currently misfiring, it’s clear to see what the problem is at present.
Their issues stem from their defense which is struggling to cover their opponents and mark them tightly. This is resulting in many easy baskets being scored against them each night.
They will be hoping that now all have had their first vaccinations against the current worldwide pandemic, they can start to focus solely on their basketball and not be distracted by what’s going on off the court.
I got my first vaccination today. As well as teammates and staff. First step in the right direction of life getting back to normal. pic.twitter.com/YLUI7Zv6Sw— Robert Covington (@Holla_At_Rob33) March 23, 2021
Portland currently has four players sidelined, and they are Nurkic and Collins, who are both out with injury, while Simons and Little are in quarantine.
The Heat also come onto this one in poor form, having lost their previous four games in a row. The last time they lost four games in a row back in January, they went on to lose a fifth, and they will be hoping history does not repeat itself tonight.
Their home form has been very similar to Portland’s away form as they have picked up 12 wins at the cost of 11 defeats. They are currently on a three-game losing streak at home, but they will be encouraged by the fact that they have not lost four games in a row at home all season.
Here are the latest betting trends for Miami:
|ATS||The Heat have only won one of their previous six matches.|
|Total||Eight of their last 11 games have gone under the betting total.|
|Total||The total has gone over in four of their previous five matches against Portland.|
|ATS||They have lost five of their last six games at home.|
|Total||Five of their previous six meetings with Western Conference teams have gone under the points total.|
|SU||Miami has only lost one of their last five games played on a Thursday.|
This confirms the Heat’s current poor form and points towards a low-scoring game.
Miami has a terrible offense that has struggled to shoot well throughout the season. This has especially been the case from deep where they are only making 34% of their shots taken. This will be music to the Trail Blazers’ ears as with their two best three-point shooters struggling at present; it shouldn’t give them too much trouble tonight if that were the case once more.
They haven’t rebounded well in attack either, which, when you’re not shooting well, can only spell trouble. That added to the fact that they are making a high number of turnovers per game could mean that Miami spends a lot of the game without the ball tonight.
The Heat have been red hot in defense this season, and this has been the driving force behind most of their success. Unlike their opponents tonight, they mark their opponents extremely tight and have reduced them to a scoring rate of 44% from the field goal range. With the Trail Blazers averaging that precise percentage themselves, expect to see more of the same tonight.
For a team that defends so well and marks their opponents so tightly, you expect them to be making more blocks per game than the four they are currently averaging each night.
I believe the Heat are too focused on defending, and they need to let the shackles loose and go out there and attack more. This is probably one reason why they have inquired about a possible trade for the Magic’s Terrence Ross ahead of the upcoming deadline. Ross is having a superb season for Orlando. Despite their struggles, he has still managed to average a career-high 16 points this season so he could offer the Heat more depth off the bench.
Trail Blazers vs. Heat Betting Pick
Trail Blazers To Win-110
It’s no secret that both teams are struggling as of late, and therefore, they will both see this as an opportunity to pick up the win and begin talk build some momentum heading into the later stages of the regular season. My initial thoughts were that the points total looked very low, and I’m still stand by that. However, with the Heat being so defensive driven I’m not going to take that figure on. The fact that the Trail Blazers are coming up against a defense that reduces their opponents to a low field goal percentage won’t affect them too much as they are used to having a low field goal percentage and can still deliver in attack. They should also see the lion’s share of the ball tonight, and for those two reasons, I will take them to pick up the win tonight.