Phoenix Suns at Miami Heat Betting Preview

Phoenix Suns at Miami Heat Betting Preview

Two of the NBA’s best meet for a potential scaled-down NBA Finals preview when the Phoenix Suns visit the Miami Heat for a 7:30 p.m. ET tip-off on Wednesday. The Suns (52-13) carry the league’s best record and have an eight-game lead in the Western Conference. The Heat (44-22) are the Eastern Conference’s best, and third overall in the league, with a three-game lead on their spot.

The two teams met in the desert on Jan. 8, a 123-100 win by Miami. The Heat were without Jimmy Butler, and Victor Oladipo had not yet made his season debut, but the team shot 50% from the field (44 for 88) and on 3-pointers (22 for 44). Meanwhile, Phoenix was held to 38% from the field (30 for 79) and a solid 41% on 3-pointers (14 for 34).

The line opened at Miami -7.5 with an over/under of 219.5, where the line sticks as of this writing.

Heat’s 3-and-D

Miami is strong metrically. The Heat are the best 3-point shooting team in the league, converting 37.7%. Defensively, they are fourth, allowing teams to score 104.6 points per game. They are fourth in defensive efficiency, forcing teams to 44.3% from the field, and are ninth in 3-point defense, forcing teams to 34.1% on 3-pointers.

Oladipo made his Miami debut, scoring 11 points in 14 minutes against Houston Monday. Caleb Martin is questionable with an Achilles injury, and Markieff Morris is out for the season (neck).
But otherwise, Miami is good to go as of the latest injury report. That means adding Butler in a matchup Miami won by 23 a month ago. He’s the team’s leading scorer, second in rebounding and assists. What’s unmeasurable is his defensive presence on the wing, with Bam Adebayo protecting the rim.

Not Your Average Suns

Phoenix is playing its third game in four days on the road and is expected to have stars Chris Paul (thumb) and Devin Booker (illness) out. That takes away two of the team’s top three scorers and assists leaders.

Deandre Ayton finds himself in a tough matchup against Adebayo. The center is averaging a double-double this season with 16.7 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. He’s the team’s leading scorer in the interim alongside Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and Cameron Payne.

A strength of the Suns this season has been their depth and especially veteran presence, so the pieces are still there. It’s just their depth is a bit diminished until their stars can return to full strength.

Still, they are 3-1 since Booker went out indefinitely and 4-3 since Paul’s injury in late February.

Suns-Heat Betting Prediction

Phoenix actually has a better road record (24-6) than Miami does at home (23-7) this season. The Suns are 34-31 against the spread and 32-32-1 on over/unders. However, they are 2-7 against the spread over their last nine games. Miami is 39-26-1 against the spread and 39-27 on over/unders.

Given the circumstances, it would be a surprise to see the Suns win outright, and they are trending in the wrong direction without Paul and Booker. That should be enough to ride Heat -7.5.

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