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Pelicans Poised to Take Advantage of Short-Handed Heat

Zion Williamson's Pelicans are home favorites in the Miami vs New Orleans odds

The future is bright in New Orleans when it comes to offensive potential – but if the Pelicans can’t stop anyone, they’re going to have a hard time beating teams. The Pelicans (15-20 SU, 15-20 ATS) will look to get their defensive house in order Thursday night against a visiting Miami Heat team (17-18 SU, 15-19-1 ATS) that has played impressive basketball in recent weeks.

Miami Heat vs New Orleans Pelicans
  • Date/Time: March 4, 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Smoothie King Center
  • TV Coverage: TNT
  • Opening Odds: Pelicans -3 | O/U 224.5 (Line History)
  • Heat vs Pelicans Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

New Orleans comes in as a 3-point favorite, though some bettors will see that line up to -3.5. The total opened at 224.5 but has surged all the way to between 226.5 and 227.5 depending on where you bet.

Miami News & Notes

The Heat were without their most important player last time out – and it showed. Jimmy Butler sat out with a knee injury, and his absence threw the Miami offense completely into flux as the Heat shot just 37.3 percent from the floor and 27.3 percent from three-point range in a 94-80 loss to Atlanta. That ended a six-game winning streak during which Miami averaged better than 112 points.

There could be hope on the horizon for the Heat, even if Butler and forward Bam Adebayo are forced to miss Thursday’s game (both are considered questionable). The Pelicans allow the third-highest three-point success rate in the league at 39.5 percent, and that came into play the first time these teams met as the Heat shot 43.2 percent from deep en route to a 111-98 win on Christmas Day.

New Orleans News & Notes

You can sum up the Pelicans’ success or failure this season based largely on how they defend the three-point arc. They’ve held teams to a 33.5 percent success rate in their 15 victories while allowing opponents to shoot a whopping 43.9 percent in their 20 losses. That trend reared its ugly head Wednesday night when Chicago shot 42.9 percent from deep in a 128-124 victory over the Pels.

In terms of player props to monitor, we could see a big night from Zion Williamson. Butler and Adebayo might both miss this game, which would eliminate the two players most capable of slowing Williamson down. The second-year star is averaging a blistering 27.1 points since the beginning of February, raising his average for the season to 25.6.

Betting Pick: Pelicans -3 (-110)

There’s a good chance the Heat won’t be at full strength, while the odds are even greater that the Pelicans will be. That, along with home-court advantage, makes New Orleans the superior choice here.

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Shark Bites
  • The Heat are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games.
  • The Pelicans are 4-8 ATS in their last 12 games.
  • The UNDER is 5-0 in the last 5 head-to-head meetings.