Jazz vs. Heat NBA Odds & Picks: Keep Backing League’s Hottest Team (Friday, Feb. 26)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell.
- The hottest team in the NBA — the Utah Jazz — takes on the Miami Heat on Friday night.
- Even if Bam Adebayo plays in this game, this is a bad matchup for Miami.
- Joe Dellera breaks down Friday's contest and shares his betting pick below.
Jazz vs. Heat Odds
|Moneyline||-215 / +170|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds as of Thursday night and via DraftKings.|
The Utah Jazz look to stay hot against the Miami Heat as they continue their incredible run through the NBA as the top seed in the West.
The Heat are nursing a few injuries as they look to work their way back into the playoff picture.
Utah’s rookie center Udoka Azubuike missed the last game against the Lakers and may miss this game as well. The Jazz don’t rely heavily on him though, so his availability would not affect this spread.
Utah has been incredible this season and their 26-6 record (and 24-8 ATS) speaks for itself. They have the best point differential in the league, +13.1, due to their No. 2 offense and No. 1 defense.
While the Jazz shoot better than you’d expect based on their shot selection, they have the second-best eFG% to the Nets and they rain 3s on all of their opponents. They take the greatest percentage of their shots from 3-point range and shoot a whopping 40.6% from deep. Every player (besides Rudy Gobert) that plays over 20 minutes per game shoots at least 38% from 3. For some perspective, the league average is 37.4% from 3.
On the opposite side of the ball, the Jazz have been excellent at limiting 3-point shots and basically funnel opponents into taking midrange shots. By closing out on the perimeter and then having Gobert clean up the glass (he averages 13.3 rebounds per game), the Jazz force their opponents into taking low-efficiency shots while limiting their second chance points. This essentially creates a razor-thin margin of error for their opponents.
Miami may be missing several key players for this marquee matchup. Tyler Herro (hip) and Bam Adebayo (knee) are listed as questionable for this contest.
If they miss, Precious Achiuwa would likely move into the starting lineup and Kelly Olynyk would see more minutes, as well. Luckily for Miami, Goran Dragic returned on Wednesday and played 21 minutes off the bench, so he could absorb some of the minutes Herro would normally occupy.
Miami wants to be the team that it was last season in the playoffs, running teams off the floor with deadly 3-point shooting. However, despite shooting 3s at the fifth-highest frequency in the league, they shoot just 35.8% from 3-point range, 22nd in the league and well below league average, per Cleaning the Glass.
Miami needs Adebayo in this matchup to line up against Gobert, otherwise, Miami’s interior presence will be nonexistent. Additionally, Bam is one of the few bigs in the league that can truly defend both on the interior and the perimeter. Without him, this Miami defense will suffer.
Even Bam being limited would be problematic, because the Heat are not making 3s at the rate they need to to stay competitive. If both Bam and Herro miss this game, Miami would be down two of its top three rebounders (based on per game stats).
Considering Miami already scores the third-fewest second chance points (10.1 per game), they will have even fewer opportunities without those critical rebounds.
While I spent a significant portion of this piece explaining Adebayo’s impact, this is just a bad matchup for Miami even if he does play.
Utah can limit Miami’s preferred shot (3-pointers) and has the ability to run Miami off the floor on offense. Miami allows the highest frequency of 3-pointers in the league, 43.9%, and against this Utah offense that thrives on the 3-ball, this game could get ugly fast.
Both Miami and Utah play slow — sub-100 Paces for both teams — but when Adebayo does not play, Miami sees a significant uptick in Pace. They go from a Pace of 98.73 when he’s on the court to 103.69 when he’s off, per NBA Advanced Stats. If Bam does not play, I will look to play Utah’s team total over.
The Jazz have been incredible this season, and I have no interest in trying to catch a falling knife by fading them, especially in this spot where Utah holds a matchup advantage and is healthy. I’ll lay the points and back the Jazz.
Pick: Jazz -5.5