Pacers vs. Heat: NBA Picks and Predictions

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Pacers vs. Heat: NBA Picks and Predictions
Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat on March 12, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/AFP

Will the return of Caris LeVert help the Indiana Pacers beat the Miami Heat and the NBA odds this Friday night?

Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat

Friday, March 19, 2021 – 8:00 PM ET at AmericanAirlines Arena

Here are the Indiana Pacers (17-22 SU, 15-24 ATS) again, going around in circles. Their promising 2020-21 campaign took a left turn on January 13 when they inserted themselves into the James Harden trade, sending Victor Oladipo to the Houston Rockets and receiving Caris LeVert from the Brooklyn Nets (plus Houston’s second-round pick in 2023). It was a nice piece of business – except LeVert’s physical revealed a mass on his kidney that had to be removed.

Thankfully, LeVert was finally ready to make his Indiana debut last Saturday, after the Pacers had gone 9-16 SU and 7-18 ATS without him. This should be a great time to buy low and put Indiana in our NBA picks, but just as LeVert was coming in, Jeremy Lamb (sore left knee) was leaving. So here we are again; the Pacers have dropped two of LeVert’s first three games in humbling fashion, and this Friday, they’ll visit a Miami Heat (22-19 SU, 18-22-1 ATS) team that’s won 11 of 13 at 9-4 ATS. Big Ben, Parliament.

I Love Caris In The Springtime

Maybe it’s still a good time to jump on the Pacers train, though. LeVert (plus-0.6 BPM in 12 games with Brooklyn) is one of the more promising shooting guards in the league, and he’s only just returned from a lengthy absence to play for an entirely new team – which itself is playing for an entirely new head coach in Nate Bjorkgren. LeVert will probably play better Friday than what we saw in his first three games (minus-2.4 BPM) in a Pacers uniform.

There’s also a good chance Lamb (plus-1.7 BPM) plays against Miami after practicing with the team on Thursday. We’re not sure how his knee is at this point, but Lamb has only missed three games, so there shouldn’t be as much ring rust to shake off. The Pacers have just opened as 5-point road dogs on the NBA odds board at BetOnline. The projections at FiveThirtyEight have Miami winning this matchup by four points. A slight lean towards Indiana seems proper here, but make it quick. Heritage Sports opened with Miami -4.5 as I wrote that sentence.

Head coach Nate McMillan of the Indiana Pacers on August 22, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images/AFP

Nate > Nate

This might have been a nice spot to take the Under in years past. These were two of the slowest and most defensive-oriented teams in the NBA until Bjorkgren came along. The Heat (Under 23-18) are still No. 25 overall in pace and third in defensive efficiency under Erik Spoelstra, but the Pacers (Over 23-15-1) have sped things up a bit with their new offense, moving up to No. 10 in pace. That's nine spots higher than their last season under Nate McMillan. They’ve also gone from defense-heavy to mediocre at both ends of the court, so, balance?

Again, we’re thinking Lamb and LeVert together will make things better in Indiana. But as always with sports betting, make it a small wager when you’re looking at a small margin for potential profit. It’s just the right thing to do. Bet accordingly, and may the sphere be with you.

NBA Pick: Pacers +5 (-108) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

Pacers +5(-108)
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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.