Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: Cavaliers vs. Heat (3/8/2023) - Taking Vegas



Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: Cavaliers vs. Heat (3/8/2023)

By TakingVegas Staff Writer
March 8, 2023
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Cleveland Cavaliers vs Miami Heat (3/8 @ 7:30 PM EST)

Spread: Cavs -1.5
Money Line: Cavs -120 / Heat EVEN
Total: 212

Overview and Betting Info

The Cleveland Cavaliers (41-26) will head south to take on the Miami Heat (35-31) on Wednesday night. These teams have played twice in Cleveland, with each team winning one game. The Cavs are currently in in fourth place in the East with Miami 5.5 games back in seventh.

The Cavs are 35-29-3 against the spread this season and have covered three of their last four games. They’ve gone over the total 32 times and have done so in seven of their last ten games.

The Heat are 23-40-3 versus the spread but they’ve covered just three of their last ten games. The Heat have gone over the total 30 times but have been under in four of their last six games.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs have now won three of their last four games after a thrilling win over the Celtics on Monday. They trail the East-leading Bucks by 6.5 games but sit just two behind the third-place Sixers. Their hot streak is due to a recent surge in offensive production, averaging 116.4 points over their last five games. It’s been a massive boost for an offense that ranks twenty-fifth in scoring (112.1 PPG) despite being sixth in field goal percentage (48.8%) and ninth in offensive rating (115.1). The Cavs have won with that offense, thanks to their elite defensive play. They lead the NBA in defensive rating (109.5) and opponent scoring (106.6 PPG) and are fifth in field goal percentage (46.5%). Cleveland has struggled on the road, going 13-19 this season.

The Cavs are led by a trio of stars in Donovan Mitchell (27.6 PPG, 4.8 APG, 1.5 SPG), Darius Garland (21.9 PPG, 7.9 APG, 1.3 SPG), and Evan Mobley (16.0 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.4 BPG). Mitchell is one of the hottest scorers in the league, averaging 34.7 points in his first three March games. He’ll be hoping that scoring will continue against a Miami team that held him to less than 17 points in both matchups. He’s played well on the road this season, but his three-point percentage is six points lower than at home. Garland is seventh in the NBA in assists and three-point percentage, making him one of the most dangerous point guards in the NBA. Mobley is ninth in the NBA in blocks and is coming off one of his best games of the season, where he had 25 points, 17 rebounds, and three blocks while making 71.4% of his shots. His shooting percentage drops a bit on the road, but he’s scoring more points and averaging 1.7 blocks away from Cleveland.

The Cavs stars have been supported by the play of Jarrett Allen (14.5 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 1.2 BPG) and Caris LeVert (11.5 PPG, 4.0 APG). Allen is in the midst of another fantastic season and has been playing better on the road. He’s cooled off in his first three games this month, averaging 8.0 points and 6.0 rebounds. Allen was great in their last game against the Heat, with 14 points, 11 rebounds, two steals, and one block. LeVert is coming off a tough February but appears to be getting back on track early in March. He has shot much better on the road this season, with his shooting percentage rising by seven points in those games (44.8%). Watch out for Ricky Rubio (4.9 PPG, 1.1 SPG), as he has been a critical defender off the bench this season and has at least one steal in his last nine games against Miami.

Miami Heat

The Heat enter Wednesday after beating the Hawks in back-to-back games. Those were vital wins for a team that had lost six of their previous seven games. Scoring has been an issue, but they have been better of late by averaging 122.3 points over their last three games. Miami has been one of the NBA’s best on defense, ranking fifth in defensive rating (112.0), second in opponent scoring (109.1 PPG), and fifth in steals (8.2 SPG). That’s despite being in the bottom ten in opponent field goal (47.9%) and three-point (36.7%) percentages. The offense has been bad, ranking twenty-sixth in offensive rating (111.1), last in scoring (108.5 PPG), last in field goal percentage (45.2%), and twenty-seventh in three-point percentage (33.7%). The Heat have played well at home this season, going 21-12.

The Heat have been led by Jimmy Butler (21.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.9 SPG), Bam Adebayo (21.2 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 1.2 SPG), and Tyler Herro (20.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.4 APG). Butler has been consistently good all season and is making 52.1% of his shots. He only faced the Cavs in their January matchup, scoring 23 points and stealing the ball three times. Butler shot just 37.5% from the floor in that game, but his 15 free-throw attempts helped boost his total. That’s been a theme all season, with Butler ranking ninth in the NBA in free throw attempts, and he already has 40 in his four games this month. Bam’s offense has been streaky, but his defense has been solid all year. The center has six blocks and seven steals over his last five games. Herro is averaging over 20 points despite having a shooting percentage of 43%. That’s partly due to his focus on three-point shooting, where he makes over 37% of his attempts. His scoring is down of late, averaging 16.2 points and making just 38% of his shots over his last five games.

The Heat’s stars are supported by the play of Max Strus (12.0 PPG) and Victor Oladipo (10.5 PPG, 1.4 SPG). Strus has struggled lately, averaging just 7.5 points in his four March games. It hasn’t been from poor shot selection, as he has made 52.2% of his shots from the field. The issue is that they need him to hit threes, but his percentage has dropped to 33.6%. Strus was a non-factor against the Cavs in January, going 0-1 from the field for zero points. Oladipo hasn’t scored consistently but is one of the team’s top defenders. In his lone game against the Cavs, he scored just five points but added seven rebounds, six assists, and three steals. He’s been much worse when playing at home, with his field goal percentage dropping by ten points. Watch out for Caleb Martin (10.3 PPG, 1.0 SPG), as he had 18 points and ten rebounds against the Cavs in January. He’s having a great start to March, averaging 14 points and making 59.4% of his shots.

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