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The Miami Heat are set to host the Indiana Pacers on Friday night eyeing a third straight win.
Pacers building identity through defense
The Pacers have had their peaks and valleys early on this season, which has seen them continue to float around the .500 mark. It has seen them drop the last two games in disappointing fashion each by six points or fewer. This may have seen them take a minor step back, Indiana has already found their bread and butter behind the play of their defense that ranks fourth in the league giving up 102.1 points per contest. This includes ranking seventh with the lowest field goal percentage (43.8). The Pacers have also gone nine straight with 107 or fewer allowed. Their play defensively has been a huge part of them finding some success early on this season, which is something that they will continue to lean on moving forward.
7 points early from @VicOladipo.
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) November 8, 2018
Meanwhile, All-Star guard Victor Oladipo has continued to build on his breakout year with another strong start averaging a team-best 24.1 points per contest on 47.0 percent shooting from the floor along with 7.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists. Oladipo has been as consistent as they come notching more than 20 points in each game following the season opener. He has been the unquestioned top scoring punch for the Pacer that has seen him come off a season-high 36 points on 14-of-30 shooting from the floor in the 100-94 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. The play of Oladipo along with the all-around effectiveness defense should bode well against the Heat to help push them to their fifth road win of the season.
Inconsistency plaguing Heat
The Heat have been trekking through the first few weeks of the season hovering around the .500 mark that has seen them struggle to find consistency on both ends of the floor. Miami has had stretches in both directions over first 10 games played that has seen them experience both the highs and lows. The Heat have had balanced scoring ranking 10th in the league with 111.5 points per contest. They have seen guard Josh Richardson get out to a strong start offensively averaging a career-best 20.7 points per contest that included shooting 40.5 percent from beyond the arc. This has seen him notch more than 20 points six times while hitting at least three 3-pointers five times this season. Richardson has been a major bright spot and source of consistency on that end of the floor this season.
A Barbara Walters and a near triple-double… @YoungWhiteside ate with his hands tonight vs the Spurs!
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 8, 2018
Big man Hassan Whiteside has also stepped up averaging a double-double with 14.2 points and 15.2 rebounds per contest. He is coming off his best performance of the season with a near triple-double recording 29 points with 20 rebounds, and nine blocks. However, the Heat have had their issues defensive ranking 16th in the league allowing 110.1 points per contest. This has seen them give up at least 110 points seven times this season including more than 120 points on four occasions. This includes opponents shooting 37.2 percent from beyond the arc, which is the seventh-highest mark in the league. If they can’t figure it out defensively against the Pacers, it will very well see their two-game win streak snapped.
- Heat are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Heat are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games following a straight up win.
- Heat are 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a ATS win.
- Pacers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Pacers are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games following an ATS loss.
- Pacers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 road games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Pacers may be coming off a pair of back-to-back losses, their stout defense should help elevate them past the Heat on the road. Their defensive presence will give the Miami much difficulty to score on Friday night. What should be noted is that the underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these two teams.
Prediction: Indiana +1.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Give that this matchup features one of the league’s top defenses should see this game edge toward falling short of the over. The under is 4-0 in Pacers’ last four overall games, which is a trend that should continue between these two teams in what should see more defense on display.