Monday Night NBA Betting: Miami Heat at Portland Trail Blazers

Miami at Portland
Time: 9:30 PM CT (ESPN)
Spread: POR -6.5
Total: 208

Odds c/o 5dimes

The Portland Trail Blazers are heating up at just the right time. Portland has won nine-straight games and will host the Miami Heat in the second half of a Monday night ESPN doubleheader.

The Blazers are favored by 6.5 points on its homecourt, where it has posted a 22-11 mark this season. Visiting Miami is seeded No. 7 in the East currently and is 16-18 on the road this season. The over/under is set at 208 points by NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.

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The Miami Heat have won its last two games and six of its last 10 overall and currently are seeded No. 7 in the East. Miami leads No. 8 Milwaukee by just a half-game in the standings, but is 5.5 games ahead of No. 9 Detroit, meaning its fate as a playoff team is probably safe enough barring a major late-season collapse. The Heat also trail No. 3 Indiana by just three games, so moving up is very possible in a tightly-packed Eastern Conference playoff race.

Miami was pegged to make a major improvement this season after being the league’s best second-half team a year ago, but that really has not happened. Sure, the Heat are five games above .500, and finished 41-41 last season, but much more was expected as this unit continued to gel and arrive into its own. Of course, the Heat did re-add Dwyane Wade at the trade deadline, and that veteran leadership not to mention nostalgia is a nice touch for the roster. But he is not the same Wade that once carried Miami to a title, and the team is really devoid of superstars of the caliber that Wade once was.

What the Heat do not lack is depth and defense. Miami is No. 7 in the league in defensive rating, giving up 106.5 points per-100 possessions. Its offense has been more of a problem, as Miami is just No. 21 in offensive efficiency and averages just 102.4 points per game (while surrendering 102.1). It is the makings of a .500 team, but with a major offensive weapon added, be it via free agency or the draft, the Heat could make a quick climb because the core and nucleus of the team is strong, centered around the defense of center Hassan Whiteside.

Whiteside averages 1.68 blocks per game in addition to his 14.3 points and 11.8 rebounds. Goran Dragic is the leading scorer at 17.1 points per game, but Miami is truly still a team in need of an alpha, despite Dion Waiters’ claim over the last offseason that he was, in fact, an alpha. Waiters may be one of the biggest disappointments in a Miami uniform this season, averaging just 14 pitons per game with a disgusting PER of 10.7. Waiters shoots just 39 percent from the field and 30 percent from three, so while he is a guy that can get hot and have big games, the story of the season has been brick city for Waiters.


Portland has won 9-straight games, including an impressive 125-108 victory over the Golden State Warriors most recently. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 58 points on combined 18 of 40 shooting, as the pair hit nine threes between them. Lillard also dished out eight assists in the game, as the Blazers were able to overcome a 40-point effort from Kevin Durant.

Warriors’ MVP Stephen Curry did sit out or the Warriors, but the Blazers did a masterful job of limiting Klay Thompson and holding the Dubs’ bench to just 18 points. Portland shot nearly 50 percent from the field in the game, and starting center Jusuf Nurkic had a double-double in just 21 minutes of play.

That is one of Nurkic’s most limiting factors, in that he is just not able to log heavy minutes really, and the Blazers’ backup bigs have typically fallen short. Not so much recently. Rookie Zach Collins shot 5 of 6 from the floor for 12 points and four rebounds off the bench, and Ed Davis is a consistent offensive threat and fair defender with some veteran presence.

If Portland can overcome its lack of front court depth, it could ride the Lillard-McCollum pairing deep into the postseason, though few are giving Portland much of a chance in a seven-game series against Golden State or Houston.

Even with a major victory like its last against Golden State, sustainability is the next on Portland’s checklist before it can be considered a true contender in the staunch Western Conference.

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