If you looked on paper, you’d think the Heat would be ahead of the Rockets in the standings. Nope, not the case. Houston has actually been one of the better teams, particularly on defense, since the James Harden trade. The Rockets have started to falter, but that’s mostly because of the absence of big man Christian Wood. That has led to losses in four of five games after a six-game winning streak.
The Heat have played well lately on a three-game winning streak. The issue for Miami has been health as well. The Heat just can’t seem to get 100 percent healthy. Goran Dragic and Avery Bradley are still sidelined and Meyers Leonard was lost for the season. The schedule gets brutal for the Heat after this game during a West Coast swing.
Miami Heat vs. Houston Rockets, 7:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Pick ATS: Heat -2.5
This is a testament to how the Heat are gaining momentum and the Rockets have none. Wood provides an element on both sides of the ball Houston just doesn’t have right now. Rockets PG John Wall is dealing with a sprained ankle, though he’s expected to play on Thursday night. That shouldn’t impact things too much, plus Wall could be held back a bit.
Jimmy Butler is starting to pick up his play, which is big for the Heat making a run at the playoffs. Like I mentioned above, the Heat are outside the playoff picture and this West Coast swing won’t be easy. Picking up a win over a weak opponent to start the trip is important and something Butler and Miami likely identified already. The spread is pretty favorable given the Rockets have been blown out in three of their past four losses.
Player Prop: Kendrick Nunn O2.5 3-pointers (+144)
Nunn has had to step up with all the injuries in the back court for Miami. Since January 16, Nunn has played at least 27 minutes in every game for the Heat. In that stretch of games, Nunn has hit at least 3 treys in five of 11 games. That’s not a great ratio, but the idea is that Nunn is getting a ton of outside looks and this is a good matchup. The minutes and looks are going to be there and the line is really juiced up for some reason. If you want a safer line, Nunn is -110 to go over 20.5 points, rebounds and assists. Nunn could easily score close to 21 points.
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