Heat vs Pacers Preview & Free Pick [Game 1]

Miami (0-0) vs Indiana (0-0)
When: Tuesday, August 18th, 2020
Where: AdventHealth Arena,
Orlando, Florida
Time: 4:00 ET | TV: TNT
Opening Odds: Miami -3.5/216

The opening games of the NBA Playoffs first round continues on Tuesday afternoon and one of the more evenly-matched series features the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers. The higher seed goes to the Pacers, but Miami is healthier and are favored to win this first round series. Miami started the season 11-3 including a remarkable 11-2-1 against the spread, but finished the regular season just 15 games over .500 and 36-35-2 ATS. Indiana finished with the fourth best ATS mark on the season at 40-30-3 (57.1% and went 6-2 SU and ATS in the seeding games. The run including impressive outright wins against the 76ers, the Lakers, the Rockets and the Heat. Miami won the season series 3-1 and the lone loss came on the final day of the seeding games, with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo resting. The teams split a pair in the NBA bubble, with Miami recording its third straight win over Indiana this season with a 114-92 triumph last Monday, before the Pacers win on Friday that broke a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. A key matchup in the series figures to be the Adebayo against the Pacers’ Myles Turner, who takes on a greater role in the series in the absence of Domantas Sabonis, who is out indefinitely with plantar fasciitis. Turner, meanwhile, has had neck and wrist issues since the restart but is expected to play in the series opener. A big disparity in the season series came at the foul line, where the Heat took an average of 4.2 more foul shots per game (22.5-18.3). The Pacers are 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings.

Miami has excelled in converting opponents’ turnovers into points in Orlando, as they have scored 20.6 points per game off the other teams’ errors. In their win against the Pacers, the Heat had 19 of those to just 10 by Indiana. Jimmy Butler has long wanted to be the star of his own team after sharing the spotlight in Philadelphia, but he returns to the playoffs as Miami’s leader. Butler will likely take the assignment of guarding TJ Warren. Warren averaged 31 points per game in the restart and finished in third place for the seeding games MVP behind Damian Lillard and Devin Booker. Butler held Warren to just 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting last Monday.

Warren had nowhere near that level of success in three games against the Heat this season, converting just 11-of-31 shot (35.5%) and 3-for-11 on 3-pointers (27.3%) while held to 10.3 points per game. With those struggles, players like Malcolm Brogdon, Victor Oladipo, and Myles Turner have to step up. Turner is the leader of Indiana’s defense that’s second in Orlando with just 108.1 points allowed per game. The Pacers are 3-1 against the spread in their last four games in the bubble.

This should be a fun series, but the Pacers will suffer without Sabonis in the lineup. Butler is a big game player who loves the spotlight and will carry his team to victory in Game 1 – and the series.

Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today. He is currently on a sizzling 12-3 Run!

Pick: Heat -4