Heat vs. Trail Blazers NBA Odds & Picks: Back Portland to Triumph in Tight Affair (April 11)

Heat vs. Trail Blazers NBA Odds & Picks: Back Portland to Triumph in Tight Affair (April 11) article feature image
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Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Portland Trail Blazers standout CJ McCollum.

  • The Heat are hot again. After losing six consecutive games, Miami rattled off wins in five of its next six contests, picking up victories over New York, Indiana, Golden State and the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Portland is fifth in offensive efficiency over the past 10 games, and actually hasn't been awful on defense, ranking 18th overall.
  • Kenny Ducey previews Sunday night's game in Portland and makes his prediction below.

Heat vs. Trail Blazers Odds

Heat Odds -0.5
Trail Blazers Odds +0.5
Over/Under 221.5
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV NBATV
Odds as of Sunday morning via DraftKings.

Coming off a beatdown of the Detroit Pistons, the Portland Trail Blazers will head into Sunday’s matchup with Miami Heat almost fully healthy and ready to make their push up the Western Conference standings.

The Blazers will have Jusuf Nurkić fully rested, which should give Portland an edge on the glass and offensive side of things.

Miami enters this game having lost Victor Oladipo indefinitely due to injury, and with another key offensive player questionable as well. Things are working against the Heat, yet the books are respecting their solid defense and recent form by making them just a half-point underdog.

Should we trust Miami or fade it with all the factors that have been laid out? Let’s dig into the matchup a little more.

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Miami Heat

The Heat are hot again. After losing six consecutive games, Miami rattled off wins in five of its next six contests, picking up victories over New York, Indiana, Golden State and the Los Angeles Lakers. While that’s not the worst list of teams, it’s certainly not that impressive and there are still some areas where the Heat can improve.

Miami’s defense has remained steady over the past six games, ranking sixth in the NBA with a 106.8 efficiency rating. After that, the franchise ranked 19th in rebounding rate during that span, and just 17th in offensive efficiency. Over the last six games, the Heat are also third to last when it comes to pace.

None of that is surprising when you consider the style of basketball Miami has played all season, but it’s not as if we’ve seen drastic steps forward in any of those departments. The Heat have been the same team they’ve always been.

However, there have been a few injuries we need to address. Tyler Herro is questionable for this game with a foot injury, while Oladipo didn’t travel with the team due to a knee issue. For a team that already struggles to score, the absence of both would be crushing.

All that said, Miami is still 12-12 against the spread on the road this year and 14-12 ATS off a loss. Although those numbers don’t sound great, it’s a positive for a team that’s 22-29-1 ATS this season. Those have actually been two of the four most-profitable spots to back Miami.


Portland Trail Blazers

As weird as it could be for Miami playing without two of its key players, this contest couldn’t be weirder for the Blazers. On paper, they should probably be larger than a half-point favorite, but they’re on the second night of a back-to-back set, having beat up on the Pistons in Saturday’s game.

However, Portland did rest Nurkić, so it should be almost at full strength for this contest, with just the long-term injury to Zach Collins on the roster.

Portland is fifth in offensive efficiency over the past 10 games, and actually hasn’t been awful on defense, ranking 18th overall. That’s a step in the right direction, considering the Blazers are second worst in the category for the entire season.

It could have something to do with Nurkić back. Defensively, the Blazers are 8.7 points better per 100 possessions with him on the floor. The return of CJ McCollum surely didn’t hurt either. Whatever the reason, Portland is finally giving some effort on defense, which is a welcomed sight. In chorus with an uber-efficient offense, any semblance of defense would make this team one of the best out west.

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Heat-Trail Blazers Pick

For me, this line is very spooky. We’ve tracked sharp money coming in on Miami since the open line of +2, bringing this game closer to a pick ’em. The line currently sits at Miami -0.5 via DraftKings, so keep an eye on the movement leading up to game time.

Fading sharp money over time isn’t the smartest move you can make as a bettor, but I’m inclined to believe in this Portland defense against a pretty inept Heat offense. I’m also going to be watching the rebounding battle closely. Nurkić and Enes Kanter have singlehandedly sparked runs with their ability to grab huge rebounds, and against a weaker front court that could be an issue.

Ultimately, things won’t be that easy for the Blazers against a good defense, but I’m willing to bet on the significantly better offense here when both sides have shown promise getting stops as of late.

On the other side of the coin, if Herro is out, things should become pretty tricky for Miami on offense. It doesn’t hurt that Portland is 6-5 ATS on the second night of back-to-backs, either.

Pick: Blazers ML (-109)

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