While college basketball typically takes center stage in March, the NCAA Tournament is still a couple of days away. In the meantime, basketball bettors can get their kicks by betting on the NBA instead. Tuesday’s NBA slate features four games, including a clash between the Pistons and Heat in Miami.
Needless to say, oddsmakers certainly prefer Miami in Tuesday’s scheduled matchup between the Pistons and the Heat. Miami is favored by 13 points in this one, according to the latest odds from BetOnline.
While the Pistons have played better basketball in the new year, their 18-50 record is still the second-worst in the Eastern Conference. Only the 18-51 Magic have been less successful thus far. Detroit also enters tonight’s game riding a three-game losing streak after Sunday’s home loss to the LA Clippers.
The Pistons may be shorthanded tonight, as well. While Isaiah Stewart and Killian Hayes are due to return from injuries, star rookie Cade Cunningham was downgraded to questionable to play tonight with an illness. Cunningham missed the morning shootaround, which is generally not a good sign for a player’s ability to play in the game later in the day. The Pistons will also be without Hamidou Diallo and Frank Jackson again tonight, which leaves their wing rotation a bit thin.
Cunningham won’t win Rookie of the Year this season, but the former No. 1 overall pick has really come on strong in recent weeks. For the season, the Oklahoma State product is averaging 16.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. Since February 1, however, Cunningham has upped his averages to 19.5 points and 6.9 rebounds in just over 33 minutes per game. Detroit’s offense is already going to be up against it in a matchup against Miami’s stingy defense. Cunningham missing this game would hamstring the lowly Pistons even further.
Detroit is 1-2 straight-up in their first three meetings against Miami on the season. However, the Pistons have successfully covered the spread in each of those games, including twice as double-digit ‘dogs. The first three matchups of the season between the teams all came in a one-month span between November 23 and December 23.
For whatever reason, the Miami Heat’s exploits have flown under the radar for most of the season. Teams like the Nets, 76ers, and Bucks generate most of the headlines, but Miami has been atop the conference for the vast majority of the campaign.
Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley have instilled a winning culture in Miami over the years. The Heat made four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals between 2010 and 2014 with LeBron James in the fold. While winning consistently hasn’t been quite as easy since James skipped town nearly a decade ago, the Heat have remained a constant title threat out of the Eastern Conference. Just two years ago, Miami made a Cinderella-like run to the Finals in the bubble.
This past offseason, Riley aggressively sought to upgrade Miami’s roster around Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro. Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker signed offseason deals in an attempt to add some veteran leadership to Miami’s locker room. The Heat also re-signed Victor Oladipo despite a quad injury. The former All-Star guard made his long-awaited return to the Miami lineup just last week, which gives the Heat even more depth in the backcourt.
Butler is the face of the franchise, but Adebayo has quietly developed into one of the league’s best all-around centers. Since February 1, Bam is averaging 21.1 points and 11 rebounds per game while supplying Miami with solid rim protection on defense. Adebayo is also shooting a robust 57.9 percent from the field while dishing out 3.4 assists per game.
Defense has been the name of the game for Miami all year. The Heat come into tonight’s game ranked fifth in the league in defensive rating, yielding just 105.3 points per 100 possessions. However, they’ve improved tremendously on the other side of the floor, too. The Heat are up to eighth in offensive efficiency, which is quite a leap for a team that finished just 17th in the same category a season ago.
Detroit Pistons vs. Miami Heat NBA Game Pick
Given the Cunningham situation, the scales seem to be heavily tipped in favor of the home team in this one. There’s still a chance Cunningham suits up for the Pistons, but the fact that he missed shootaround has me dubious. If Cunningham sits, Detroit will rely heavily on the likes of Jerami Grant and Saddiq Bey to carry the team offensively.
I do not expect Cunningham to play for the Pistons in this one, which makes the Heat look like a good value to cover the spread. A 13-point margin is huge by NBA standards, and Detroit hasn’t failed to cover in any of their previous three meetings with the Heat on the year. That streak will come to an end tonight, however. Take Miami to win and cover on their home floor.
Detroit Pistons vs. Miami Heat Betting Recap
- Moneyline: Pistons +660, Heat -1000
- Point Spread: Pistons +13 (-105), Heat -13 (-115)
- Over/Under: Over 214.5 points (-110), Under 214.5 points (-110)
- Pick: Miami Heat -13 (-115)