Miami Heat 2021 NBA Win Total Odds & Pick: How to Bet the Heat After Magical Bubble Run
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat reacts during Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Heat Win Total Odds
The Case for the Over
The Heat cost me more than any other team last season, and profited me more than any other team last season. I took their under and the Magic to win the division.
Miami finished at a 49-win pace over an 82-game season, easily won the Southeast Division and landed solidly in the playoffs.
I bet them to beat the Bucks, which was a pretty obvious underdog value play, and it paid off. But I had no reason to think they’d beat the Celtics, and I’m still not sure how Boston blew it.
So here we are again.
This number suggests that the Heat, who return all the key members from last year’s team except Jae Crowder, will be as good as last year. That seems like a decent bet.
Miami’s offense remains multifaceted, with numerous ways of beating the opposition. There will be internal improvement, most likely, from Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro. The Heat have shooting, rebounding, size, speed, creators and finishers.
Miami proved in the playoffs that their fastball can take out any top team, just not the Lakers.
Erik Spoelstra is a phenomenal coach, so it’s no surprise that the Heat have gone over in four of the last five seasons.
Miami has the most rest advantage games in the first half of the season and the second-least rest disadvantage games. The Heat may have to make that up in the second half but at that point, they might have built up a cushion to go over.
The Case for the Under
Here’s the big key: The Heat were three different teams last season.
There was the team early in the season that vastly outperformed a reasonable ceiling, built mostly on phenomenal shooting and a defense that was a little fraudulent, as I wrote in January.
Then there was the team after the trade deadline, the one that added Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill (oh yes, and Andre Iguodala, who actually didn’t wind up mattering that much). That team was better defensively and still good enough offensively.
And finally there was the team that showed up in the bubble. Kendrick Nunn, Meyers Leonard and Derrick Jones, Jr. were all out of the rotation as Crowder moved into the starting lineup. Goran Dragic used a time machine to bring back the 2013 version of himself and looked nothing like the shell of a player he was the last two seasons. And everyone hit everything all the time. Plus, Jimmy Butler did Jimmy Butler things.
The problem is that you can’t be that Heat team for 72 games. It’s a limited appearance, and the Heat timed it right.
Crowder is gone. They added Mo Harkless and Avery Bradley, both of whom have been hit or miss from stop to stop in their careers (much like Crowder). They definitely lost size; Crowder is listed 15 pounds heavier than Harkless.
The Heat had a higher actual win percentage (60.3%) than their Pythagorean expectation last season (58.9%). Any closer alignment to expectations and they fall under.
Miami’s win profile was also bizarre. Of the top six teams in both conferences, the Heat lost more games to teams under .500 than all but one (Houston, which Miami tied with 15). They balanced that by winning the most games vs. teams over .500 in the Eastern Conference (tied with Milwaukee). Miami is absolutely built for the playoffs, but it’s vulnerable to regular-season losses.
The Heat are the most likely team whose win total may be elevated by recency bias. They’re good, but are they regular-season 50-wins? Can they match last season’s magic?
Miami Heat Win Total Bet
I want to take the under. I want to. I don’t think this team is as good as its previous regular season or its impressive playoff run. I’m still not sure how Boston screwed that Eastern Conference finals series up.
However, there’s one more factor I have to throw in and it gives better value to the over.
Pat Riley is not in pursuit of runner-up. He doesn’t want to be good. He wants to win the title, and he’s set this team up over and over again to add another superstar. The Heat are in the championship business.
James Harden wants out of Houston. Victor Oladipo’s name will come up, too.
You add either of those players to a core of Butler and, presumably, Bam Adebayo, and that team’s not just going over, it’s going back to the Finals.