Wizards vs. Heat Odds & Picks: Wait for Live Bet On Washington
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Bradley Beal.
- The Miami Heat will take on the Washington Wizards in Wednesday night NBA action.
- The Heat are finally getting healthy, which will be a big boost for Miami moving forward.
- Roberto Arguello breaks down the game below and explains why he likes the Heat to win but not cover a live spread on Wednesday night.
Wizards vs. Heat Odds
|Moneyline||+280 / -350|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
The Wizards face the Heat Wednesday in the first of two consecutive games between these teams in Miami.
The Heat beat the Wizards, 128-124, in their only previous meeting, but Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook didn’t play.
The Heat remember that game as the domino that sent the first quarter of their season off the rails as they dealt with absences due to COVID-19 protocols for 11 straight games afterward before getting their squad back fully healthy on Monday.
Heat fans hope to avenge that loss Wednesday while also giving Beal — who has expressed recently that he doesn’t want to be traded — a glimpse of what he could be a part of in Miami.
The Wizards are playing on the second leg of a back-to-back after losing to the Trail Blazers, 132-121, at home on Tuesday.
The Heat are also coming off of a loss after falling, 129-121, to the Hornets in overtime on Monday. Expect the Heat to win but the Wizards to cover.
The Wizards have seen phenomenal play from Beat all season as he leads the NBA with 34.7 points per game.
To beat the Heat, they will need Westbrook and Davis Bertans to step up while Beal continues to score at a high level.
The Wizards will be shorthanded as Raul Neto (groin) and Thomas Bryant (torn ACL) remain out.
Despite ranking in the 97th percentile in usage rating among point guards (36.1%), Westbrook has ranked in just the 21st percentile in points per 100 shot attempts (97.0), per Cleaning The Glass.
Although Westbrook is second in the NBA with 9.5 assists per game, he also leads the NBA with 5.0 turnovers per game. He’s taking a career-low 25% of his shot attempts at the rim this year while attempting a career-high 53% of his shot attempts in the midrange, according to Cleaning The Glass.
This is troubling for the Wizards as Westbrook ranks in the 87th percentile among point guards in shooting percentage at the rim (65%) while ranking in the 16th percentile in midrange shooting percentage (33%).
Westbrook needs to be aggressive in finding mismatches against the Heat’s weaker perimeter defenders, such as Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson, and take them to the basket or find quality looks for shooters from 3-point range.
Bertans is one of those shooters who should have opportunities to score against the Heat, although he has struggled after signing a new contract this offseason.
After shooting 42.4% from 3 last year and scoring 15.4 points per game, Bertans is shooting 32.7% from distance and scoring 10.9 points per game this season.
This is concerning because he has never shot below 37% on triples in his first four seasons in the league, and he is coming off of a tough night against the Trail Blazers in which he made just 2-of-10 shots from deep.
The Wizards have confidence in Bertans and need him to keep shooting in a favorable matchup against the Heat’s perimeter defense.
If the Heat hope to win and cover, they will need to limit their turnovers and have Bam Adebayo play aggressively.
The Heat have a long injury report heading into this game as Moe Harkless, Meyers Leonard, and Chris Silva remain out. Avery Bradley (knee), Goran Dragic (knee), Tyler Herro (knee), and Gabe Vincent (knee) are all probable.
The Heat haven’t ranked in the top-13 NBA teams in lowest turnover percentage since 2013, but this Heat team has had the worst turnover problems, giving the ball away at the second-highest rate (17.0%) in the NBA.
Injury and COVID-19 issues haven’t helped the Heat, either, but even with all of their best players healthy on Monday, the turnover issues continued as they turned the ball over 16 times (15.9% of possessions).
Miami has been an efficient offense when it gets to shoot the ball, as its effective field goal percentage of 54.6% ranks 10th in the league, but being the second-worst team in turnover rate and offensive rebounding rate (20.4%) has led to its offense ranking just 25th in efficiency (107.0 points per 100 possessions).
The Heat will have a golden opportunity to turn this around against a Wizards defense that ranks 28th in defensive efficiency (115.7) and 29th in effective field goal percentage (56.4).
With a relatively full roster back (assuming players designated as probable will all play), the Heat need Adebayo to continue to play aggressively.
While the Heat struggled mightily without Jimmy Butler available over the last few weeks, Adebayo played the best basketball of his career.
Adebayo is averaging career highs in usage rate, points per shot attempt, and assist percentage.
While Adebayo emerged as an All-Star last season, his improved shooting touch that has extended to the long midrange — where he has made 48% of his shot attempts and ranks in the 71st percentile among bigs — has made him even more dangerous offensively, especially when he is used so frequently on the perimeter as a distributor to make reads for himself or shooters.
When Butler and Company were all back on Monday, Adebayo recorded his lowest usage rate of the season as he deferred too often.
The Heat will need to get him more involved against a poor Wizards defense that won’t have anyone who can guard him with Bryant out for the season.
While I expect the Heat to win, I don’t love the value on them to cover because of their poor 3-point defense. The Heat have allowed opponents to shoot the second-most 3s (43.5% of opponent’s shots have been 3s) of any team, and Heat opponents are making 38.6% of those shots, as the Heat rank 23rd in 3-point percentage defense.
This should be an excellent opportunity for Bertans to get back on track, and Beal should also take advantage of this.
While I like the Wizards at +8.5 on BetMGM, I will instead try to find better value live, as the Heat have struggled to hold leads.
Miami blew the most double-digit leads in the NBA last season, and it hasn’t been great at closing games out this year.
The Heat have taken double-digit leads in three consecutive games and blown them each time — although the Heat came back to beat the Kings on Saturday.
Even with a full roster back on Monday, the Heat squandered a 10-point lead with three minutes remaining against the Hornets on Monday. On a related note, Couper Moorhead posted an intriguing thread Tuesday on how variance has played a role in the Heat’s late-game struggles.
Next point worth bringing up is that the Heat were 18-18 in the clutch last year despite that pristine 8-1 record in OT. Their elite eFG and TS% marks dropped into the 20's in league rankings down the stretch of close games.
— Couper Moorhead (@CoupNBA) February 2, 2021
With this in mind, I will wait until the Heat take a lead in the first half and pounce when the Wizards get to +13.5 or higher on the live spread.
Additionally, I expect Adebayo to score and like the value on his player performance double from FanDuel to score 20+points and Miami to win at +150 (with value down to +130).
Pick: Wizards +13.5 or better live.