The Utah Jazz and Miami Heat have two of the better defenses in the NBA, but the end result is a deflated posted total here, perhaps too deflated, giving value to the ‘over’ Thursday.
There could be a sneaky ‘over’ Thursday night despite a matchup of two of the better defenses in the NBA, when the Utah Jazz (4-3, 5-2 ATS) pay a visit to the Miami Heat (5-3, 5-3 ATS) at American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL at 7:35 ET in a game available on Sunshine Sports.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 183½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -103.
Eight Road Games in First 10 Games
The schedule-makers were not kind to the Jazz this season as Utah is opening up the season with eight road games in its first 10 games, with this being the sixth road game in the first eight contests. The Jazz do deserve credit though for being over .500 with that slate so far at 4-3, and that is while only splitting the two home games, meaning the Jazz have a winning 3-2 road mark. It helps that Utah leads the NBA is scoring defense allowing just 89.7 points per game.
And the Heat sit right behind Utah in second in scoring defense allowing 90.1 points per contest, as Miami looks to rebound this year after missing the playoffs last season. The return of Chris Bosh and the development of Hassan Whiteside have combined to give the Heat a winning record as NBA picks so far at 5-3 after finishing a disappointing eight games below the .500 mark last season.
So in a matchup of the top two scoring defenses in the league, the ‘under’ is the obvious choice, right? Well…
Heat Finally Snap Pattern
The Heat had alternated wins and losses over their first seven games this season before finally putting a streak of any kind together, as Miami made it two straight wins with a 101-88 win over the Lakers on Tuesday, also marking the second time in those first eight games that the Heat topped 100 points. Bosh continued his comeback after missing much of last season with blood clots in his lung with 30 points, while Whiteside had 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Bosh now leads the Heat in scoring with his 18.2 points per game while Whiteside continues to be a walking double-double averaging 15.3 points and 11.4 rebounds while also ranking third in the entire NBA in field goal percentage at 64.3 percent and in also leading the league in blocked shots with 3.9 per game. Whiteside is a matchup nightmare for just about anyone, although one of the exceptions would be Utah’s premier defender Rudy Gobert.
Allowed 118 Points Last Game
The problem here though is that Gobert sprained his ankle in a 118-114 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, and the Utah defense collapsed soon afterwards as you can probably tell by the final score. Gobert is currently listed as questionable for this contest, but even if he does play, he may not have his usual mobility, which is a major concern defending Whiteside.
On the flip side, the Jazz did run more after the big man left and not only was the 114 total points a season high, but it also marked the first time all season that Utah topped 100 points. The Jazz are 26th in the league in scoring with their 96.3 points per game, but at the same time they are third in three-point shooting at 38.7 percent, so they are capable of scoring more if they play at a quicker pace, which would almost certainly be the case if Gobert cannot go.
And the latest word in not encouraging, as Gobert only did some limited work in practice and missed the shootaround entirely this morning.
Trending the ‘over’
Finally, despite the prowess of these two defenses, it is the ‘over’ that is 4-1 in the last five meetings overall, as well as 8-3 in the last 11 meetings in Miami. The ‘over’ is also 4-0 in the Jazz’s last four games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game and 7-1 in their last eight games vs. teams with a winning percentage above .600.
With a low posted total, a gimpy Gobert and perhaps some fatigue kicking in for the Jazz due to all of the early road games, look for those patterns to continue with another ‘over’ when Utah visits Miami on Thursday.
NBA Pick: Jazz, Heat ‘over’ 183½ (-103)