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NBA Best Betting Picks: Heat and Lakers Get Scrappy

November 10, 2021
Lowry and the Heat face the Lakers

It’s a rematch of the 2019-20 NBA Finals albeit without LeBron James, as the Miami Heat visit the Los Angeles Lakers.

Vegas’ NBA odds pegs Miami (7-3) as four-point favorites, though the Heat are coming off a brutal beatdown at the hands of the Denver Nuggets. The game got physical and spilled past the court

Miami will need to refocus and get back to business, as they can ill afford to overlook the Lakers (6-5). Los Angeles is struggling this season but has managed to gut out some wins thanks to their veteran savvy and “heart”. The Lakers have grossly underperformed against their point-spread expectation so far, though a challenge against the bullheaded Heat could be what brings out the best in this embattled team.

Game of the Night: Lakers Defend Against Heat

The Heat are the favorites per the NBA betting odds, but expect plenty of support to come for the Lakers. Los Angeles remains popular, particularly coming off a thrilling win over the Charlotte Hornets where their “Big Three” of Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony had big games. 

The Underdog: Lakers Continue To Struggle

It was obvious the Lakers would struggle for the first parts of the season. This team was put-together like a last-minute dinner party. James is hurt, Davis is banged up and any team led by the mercurial Westbrook is bound to have highs and lows. 

The Lakers’ biggest obstacle is their offensive dysfunction. The team commits plenty of turnovers (fourth-most in the NBA) and fouls. It has a bevy of shooters but the team has issues with proper spacing — attempting just 31.9 threes (24th) despite hitting at a 35.9% rate. 

It’s tempting to pin it all on Westbrook as his high usage and questionable decision making are a bad recipe for the team. The Lakers are just 3-8 against the spread (ATS) and 2-3 against teams above .500. Thankfully, their defense is improving.

 

Player To Watch: Westbrook is shooting just 41.1% this season and averaging 18.8 points. This number doesn’t change much whether the Lakers win or lose. Against the defensively challenged Blazers and Hornets, he shot a combined 6-of-28. Miami has one of the fiercest interior defenses — so expect “Westbrick” to make another appearance.

Pick: Russell Westbrook (LAL) Total Points – Under 19½ (-115) 

The Favorite: Heat Get Really Hot or Really Cold

The Miami Heat are 7-3 and the third-best team in the league in terms of net rating. But those three losses were really bad. The Heat have one of the most lopsided win-loss splits, averaging 119.4 points on 49.9% shooting in wins but only 88.3 points and 37.6% shooting in losses. 

While Westbrook can be blamed for plenty of the Lakers’ shortcomings, Miami’s goat could be Kyle Lowry. The former Raptor is a game changer when he’s on, but he can be a disappearing act on the odd night. Lowry is averaging just three points on 11.8% shooting in the Heat’s two losses with him on the court. 

Miami can still push themselves to a victory with their lockdown defense. But to truly dominate, Lowry and the offense need to be humming. Either way, the under on the NBA odds is worth a bet as the consistent defense from Miami will trump both teams’ offenses. 

Pick: Under 213½ (-110) 

 

Player To Watch: Lowry had a goose egg in the last game. He will need to be better against the Lakers and he will be. The six-time All-Star is averaging 12 points and eight assists for every Heat win, which is around the 20.5 mark here. At an even price, bet on Lowry to make a big impact for Miami on offense. 

Pick: Kyle Lowry (MIA) Total Points+Assists – Over 20½ (-115) 

Our Pick To Win… 

As mentioned, if Lowry and the Heat’s offense get stifled, they will likely get blown out of the building. But that shouldn’t be the case here. While the Lakers do have a stalwart defense, their turnover-prone offense can give the Heat plenty of breaks. 

Miami should be able to gain more possessions than the Lakers via rebounding and winning the turnover differential. Even if Miami struggles with its offense, it should outlast the Lakers with its grit and defense.

It will get close, but bet on the Heat to win this road game. We’re more comfortable putting down on the moneyline odds, rather than taking a chance of being burned by the hook on a 4½-point Lakers cover.

Pick: Miami Heat -170

Or better still — play the Heat to win and the under in a same-game two-teamer and look to earn twice your bet.

Parlay: Miami Heat -170 and Under 213½ (-110) at +197