The New Orleans Pelicans travel to FTX Arena in the Sunshine State for a road tilt with the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. The Pelicans (2-13) are off to a horrid start but have been without their star player Zion Williamson this year. The Heat (9-5) sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and are coming off a victory on Monday night. Miami opens this game as a considerable home favorite.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Miami Heat Betting Lines
Point Spread: Miami Heat -8.5
Money Line: N/A
Total: Over/Under 216
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Miami Heat Injury Report
The Pelicans will be without Zion Williamson for at least the next couple of weeks as he continues rehabbing a foot injury. Daulton Hommes (leg) will be sidelined until at least the first week of December.
Miami has been hampered with nagging injuries to both Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Both are questionable heading into this home matchup but are expected to play after missing Monday’s game. SG Victor Oladip remains out for at least the next month with a quadriceps injury.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Miami Heat Preview
Pelicans Looking for Consistency on Defense
New Orleans has really slumbered out the gates in 2021, which was expected with their injury concerns. They are only averaging 102.1 points per game, good for 26th in the league. Those numbers should slowly creep up with Brandon Ingram returning to the lineup. Zion is expected to be back in the next month, and at that point, we’ll see just how good this Pelicans team can be.
Until then, they will rely on Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas to lead the offensive charge. Jonas is averaging a bloated 19.6 points and 13.3 rebounds but has struggled at times when teams deploy small-ball lineups. Devonte Graham has added 15.7 points per game but is only shooting the rock at a 38% clip. The aforementioned Zion Williamson takes a ton of pressure off the supporting cast. Jonas can fill his role more efficiently without having to guard athletic centers. At the same time, Graham can find open threes which have not been plentiful this year. Expect the Pels to trend up as the season goes on, especially when they get their big clog back.
Lowry Adds Defensive Grit to the Heat
The Heat started out the year on a hot note, winning six of their first eight games. Since then, they have dropped to 8-5 and are struggling with nagging injuries. Bam Adebayo has been hampered with a knee injury and Jimmy Butler has a sore ankle. None of the concerns should last longer than a week, but these types of soft tissue problems can linger throughout the year. Butler is averaging 24.4 points, 5.1 dimes, and 6.5 rebounds through the first two weeks and has stepped up his defensive intensity in a big way.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 17, 2021
Newcomer Kyle Lowry has added another gritty layer to an already dominant defensive club. The 15th year veteran is averaging 12.8 points, 7.0 dimes, and 5.2 rebounds through the early season. Although he is putting up rock-solid numbers, it is Lowry’s savvy know-how and a feverish defensive effort that has added juice to Miami. When fully healthy, the Heat are dangerous and will be a contender in the Eastern Conference alongside the Nets and Bucks.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Miami Heat Prediction and Picks
Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler are both questionable leading into this matchup. Although given the tag, both star players are expected to suit up at home against the Pelicans after missing Monday’s game. The injuries are not considered serious, so coach Erik Spoelstra may give them limited runtime on Wednesday night.
With that being said, none of that will matter much against a short-handed Pelicans squad. They simply are not the same club without Zion on the inside. New Orleans is 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games and has been routinely abused from three-point land. Opposing teams are shooting almost 39% from deep, good for 28th in the NBA. Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro will be getting a ton of usage, even if Butler and Bam suit up. It’s a good thing because the two guards have developed some excellent chemistry. This looks like a get-right game for Miami, and unfortunately, it’ll come at the hands of the lowly Pelicans. For some added juice, spark up the number to gain a higher odd. Take Miami to win and win big.