The Miami Heat head into Christmas Day having lost their season opener to the rival Orlando Magic 113-107. It was an unorthodox loss for the Heat, who played well on offense but poor on defense. Miami shot over 50 percent from the floor but turnovers were an issue 22 times. So the Heat will look to even their record at 1-1 against the New Orleans Pelicans on X-Mas.
The Pelicans are coming off an impressive 113-99 win over the Toronto Raptors in their opener on Wednesday. The Pels shot over 50 percent from the floor and 45 percent from beyond the arc, mostly thanks to JJ Redick, who had 23 points on 6-of-11 shooting from outside. NOLA bottled up Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Norman Powell in the win thanks to a back court of Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe. This should make for a very intense matchup against Butler in South Beach.
New Orleans Pelicans @ Miami Heat, 12:00 p.m. ET ESPN
ATS Pick: Pelicans +5.5
New Orleans showed the world what it’s made of by knocking off the Toronto Raptors in its season opener. Beating one of the NBA’s most consistent Eastern Conference teams on the road is no small feat. The Pelicans had an impressive offensive performance but also exceeded expectations on defense by holding Toronto to 99 points. I think New Orleans could go toe to toe with Miami scoring the ball after having four players eclipse 15 points in its season opener. Miami’s dropped its season opener to the Orlando Magic and doesn’t appear to be in top form. The Pelicans might not win but should make things interesting.
Player Prop: Tyler Herro O16.5 Points (+104)
There’s a chance Jimmy Butler misses this game. He’s questionable to play as of Thursday night. If Butler is out, this line will likely move with Herro being the natural scorer to step up. Really, we can take advantage Duncan Robinson O12.5 points (-122) and Moe Harkless O6.5 points (-110) as well if Butler could be out. Even if Butler plays, I can see Herro going over this number after a shaky opener. Even in that performance, Herro came close to this number.
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