Heat vs Pacers Prediction Odds, Pick Today | NBA Betting Preview (Sunday, April 7)

Heat vs Pacers Prediction Odds, Pick Today | NBA Betting Preview (Sunday, April 7) article feature image

Obi Toppin #1 of the Indiana Pacers and Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat look on during the game. (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

Heat vs. Pacers Prediction

Sunday, April 7
5 p.m. ET
League Pass
Heat Odds
-110 / -110
Pacers Odds
-110 / -110
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about Heat vs. Pacers on Sunday, April 7 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today's game.

A pivotal game in the race for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs take place in Indiana on Sunday night, and with a high total and a close line, oddsmakers are expecting an extravagant affair.

Can the Pacers end the Heat's run of four wins in five games to earn some separation as we wind down the regular season, or will the erratic form that's led them into this spot ultimately show its head again?

Let's get into the best way to bet this matchup below.

Miami Heat

The Heat are playing solid ball at the moment. Sure, they succumbed to a Sixers team energized by the return of Joel Embiid earlier in the week, but around that they've earned some hard-fought wins over the Rockets and Knicks while taking care of business against the Wizards and Trail Blazers.

They now find themselves just a half-game back of Indiana for the sixth and final playoff spot in the East, which is sure to create a playoff-like atmosphere in Indy.

Miami's defense has been special over the last two weeks, checking in nearly eight points better than its season average to rank second in the NBA. It's done an exceptional job against the 3, holding opponents to just 30.5% to improve even further upon a 10th-ranked 36.2% defense for the season.

At the rim, too, there's been a stunning turnaround for the 24th-best defense within four feet, ranking sixth in the league at a robust 61.9%. The frontcourt has continued the solid play on the glass, ranking fourth after two long years of finishing toward the bottom of the NBA in that area.

So, we can expect a pretty tough road here for a Pacers offense which has waffled in the last month or so, but what about this offense? After all, the Heat have been a decidedly defense-first team.

Well, this offense has put up a whopping 118 points per 100 possessions in the last two weeks and should remain strong with the oft-injured Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro listed as available here.

The Heat have been an above-average team from deep over the course of the season, occasionally watching their efficiency dip as their guards and wings shuffle in and out of the lineup, and that's remained the case of late. Things have picked up at the rim too, but the focus here will be on jumpshots and little else.

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Indiana Pacers

The Pacers get to the rim better than almost every team in the NBA, so while their 3-point shooting has been one of the big calling cards the matchup in the frontcourt should be equally as important here.

The tough part for Indiana is not only that Miami's turned its defense around in dramatic fashion within four feet, but also that its opponent here as ranked in the top five in preventing inside shots both for the season and the last couple of weeks.

On top of that, it has to be said that ever since Bennedict Mathurin was lost to injury this offense has simply lacked the same kind of bite it had earlier in the season.

Sure, if you look at the estimated offensive impact Mathurin is only marginally above-average, but since his injury the team has fallen off by almost two points per 100 possessions and only recently has been able to recover its form — sitting atop the NBA in points per 100 possessions for the last two weeks.

Some of that has been due to other shooters on this team stepping up, sure, but Indiana has also had the benefit of playing some pretty poor 3-point defenses in the past 10 or so games like the Pistons, Bulls, Clippers and Lakers.

Its shooting numbers do get a boost at home, but I remain skeptical here against a solid 3-point defense, especially with Tyrese Haliburton popping up on the injury report with a sore back ahead of this one.

It'll sound like a bit of an archaic point, but I do think Indiana's continued struggles against the mid-range jumper will really hurt it here. Miami thrives from the mid-range, and despite picking things up around the perimeter of late the Pacers should still find themselves incredibly vulnerable there.

The good news is that this team remains one of the hardest to score on down low, but there's nothing stopping Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo from firing from the elbow all game long.

Heat vs. Pacers

Betting Pick & Prediction

With a matchup so tight, and one which should mirror a playoff game, you have to find the small edges that can ultimately make a huge difference. In this case, I think Miami holds several.

The Heat's newfound love for rebounding should really show up here, and it's worth noting that in the two games these teams have played it's actually been Miami to pull down more rebounds.

On top of that, the Heat were the side to shoot the ball with more consistency outside, and it took a 50% shooting night from outside from Indiana to win a shootout the last time these two teams met.

That kind of night doesn't come often against the Heat, and without Mathurin and perhaps a fully-healthy Haliburton, I have a hard time seeing Indiana winning this game with a barrage of outside shots — particularly with the Heat's continued excellence in defending the perimeter.

Look for Miami to thrive from the mid-range yet again in this matchup, and for fewer Pacers 3-pointers to fall as the matchup gets a bit harder after a run of weaker defenses.

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Nick Sterling
May 21, 2024 UTC