Wizards at Heat NBA Betting Odds, Prediction, Preview: Back the Under in Miami with Herro Out
Al Bello/Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Butler
- Current Heat vs. Wizards odds list Miami at -7 and even -7.5 at some sportsbooks, with the over/under dropping to 206 as well.
- The Wizards enter Thursday night's game with the best winning percentage in the Eastern Conference, as they've been arguably the biggest surprise of the NBA season so far.
- Get our full Wizards vs. Heat betting preview and prediction below.
Wizards vs. Heat Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Editor’s Note (6:48 p.m. ET): Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo (knee), Kyle Lowry (rest), and Dewayne Dedmon will all play for the Heat. Tyler Herro (wrist) and Spencer Dinwiddie (injury maintenance) are out.
The Washington Wizards visit the Miami Heat on Thursday night in a matchup between two of the best teams against the spread so far this season. The Heat are third in the NBA with a +5.3 Spread Differential while the Wizards are fifth at +4.2.
The Wizards surprisingly sit atop the Eastern Conference standings at 10-4 as their defensive improvement has shot them up the standings. The Wizards will be playing the second leg of a back-to-back on Thursday as their 97-87 loss on Wednesday at the Hornets snapped a five-game winning streak.
The Heat will also be playing the second leg of a back-to-back on Thursday as they defeated the Pelicans on Wednesday night behind a 31-point triple-double from early season MVP candidate Jimmy Butler.
The Heat are 10-5 on the season, but even despite injuries to Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Kyle Lowry (both Adebayo and Lowry didn’t play Wednesday), a win on Thursday would propel the Heat to the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Wizards Winning on Defensive End
The Wizards’ defensive improvement is the biggest reason why they are playing quality basketball to start the season. After finishing 30th in Defensive Rating two season ago (115.9 – excluding garbage time, per Cleaning The Glass), the Wizards improved their Defensive Rating to 16th last season (113.2) and have improved again to third in the league (103.2 this season.
Swapping out Russell Westbrook for several quality defenders who have played significant roles this season such as Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Kyle Kuzma has helped the defense. The acquisition of Spencer Dinwiddie and in-house improvement from players like Deni Avdija have also taken this defense to another level.
This Wizards defense is swarming pic.twitter.com/rljhGx4I7R
— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) November 16, 2021
While the defense has been solid, the offense ranks just 20th in Offensive Rating at 107.1 (excluding garbage time, per Cleaning The Glass). The offense held them back in Wednesday’s loss to the Hornets as they scored just 87 points and shot 19% (8-of-42) from beyond the arc. Bradley Beal was 5-11 on 3s, but the rest of the team made just three of 31 attempts (9.6%).
If the Wizards win or cover as road underdogs in Miami, they need to shoot 3s at an efficient percentage as the Heat allow the most 3-point attempts (44.9%) of opponent shots while holding those opponents to 33.0% from beyond the arc (seventh in the NBA, per Cleaning The Glass). The Wizards don’t attempt relatively many 3s as their 34.4% shot frequency from beyond the arc ranks 24th while their 32.4% accuracy from downtown ranks 27th in the league.
Sharpshooting Davis Bertans (ankle) is out while Rui Hachimura (conditioning) and Thomas Bryant (knee) also remain out. Spencer Dinwiddie is listed as day-to-day after playing 29 minutes but scoring 0 points against the Hornets.
Miami’s Ceiling Hinges on Availability
If the Heat win and cover at home on Thursday, it will be because Jimmy Butler and/or Tyler Herro can consistently get them buckets in the halfcourt against a tough Wizards defense.
While the Heat’s defense has allowed the most 3-point attempts and the fourth-fewest midrange attempts, the Wizards’ defense has allowed the fewest 3-point attempts and the second-most midrange attempts. The Wizards have excelled in defending both areas as their opponents are shooting just 31.3% on 3s (best in the league) and 36.5% on midrange attempts (second best in the league, per Cleaning The Glass).
The Heat will need Butler and Herro to manufacture points in the halfcourt against a Wizards team that doesn’t allow high-quality 3-point attempts and also allows the fourth-fewest shots at the rim (29.0% of opponent shots, per Cleaning The Glass).
While the rest of the NBA is seemingly struggling to get to the foul line with new rule changes, Butler has thrived in getting to the charity stripe as his 8.8 free-throw attempts per game are second in the league (behind only Giannis Antetokounmpo). He has ascended into the MVP conversation this season as his 124.5 points per 100 shots rank in the 90th percentile while he still plays at a high level as a defender (both on and off the ball), rebounder, and passer.
Herro has taken the next step this season as he has increased his shooting volume and accuracy (while taking a tough shot profile that consists of jump shots mainly off the dribble). Herro’s effective Field Goal percentage of 52.3% ranks in the 71st percentile among combo guards as he has improved his midrange accuracy (47% — 77th percentile) and 3-point accuracy (38% — 81st percentile, per Cleaning The Glass).
The Heat were without Lowry (rest) and Adebayo (knee bruise) on Wednesday, and although I would expect Lowry at least to be back, it is unclear if they will play Thursday. Dewayne Dedmon (groin) and Butler (ankle) were also listed as questionable heading into Wednesday’s game but did play (Butler had missed the previous three games).
Jimmy Butler with a message to Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry as he left the post-game tonight 😂 pic.twitter.com/xztqXxHYeD
— Will Manso (@WillManso) November 18, 2021
We don’t know yet if those two will be available either, but Butler has asked that Lowry and Bam show up to work today, so that could be an indication that he will be available. Keep an eye on our FantasyLabs news page for today as this will have the latest updates on injuries across the NBA today.
Updated Prediction (6:48 p.m. ET): With Herro and Dinwiddie out, the value lies with the under as both teams will remain elite defensively, but the offenses will take a step back, especially with both teams playing the second leg of a back-to-back.
The Wizards won’t have one of their better scorers in Dinwiddie while the Heat won’t have their best pure scorer. While Butler leads the Heat in scoring average, Herro can manufacture his shots more easily in crunch time when midrange shots and contested 3s will be available against this Wizards defense.
The Wizards, who were already without sharpshooter Davis Bertans, won’t have enough shooting to push this over the total while the Heat spend more time in the halfcourt without Herro available to get his own shots.
The Heat will also replace Herro with players like Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, and possibly Caleb Martin or Marcus Garrett in the rotation – and each one of these options is both better defensively and worse offensively (with Strus being the lone explosive scoring threat).
Bet the Under at 207 with value down to 204 as the Heat should stifle the Wizards’ 20th ranked Offense while the Heat’s sixth-ranked offense has its own struggles without Herro, who has buoyed the Heat offense and played in every game so far this season.
Pick: Under 207