The reigning Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat are starting to find their form. Jimmy Butler recorded his first triple-double of the season, and the Heat won their fourth straight game by beating Houston 101-94 on the road. The win was just the second cover in the seven games since Butler has returned (2-1-4 ATS), but this was a solid buy-low spot for Miami whose market power rating had been slightly inflated due to Butler’s return.
Miami has started to show some evidence that the team that upset the Milwaukee Bucks and made it to the NBA Finals is still here. Over this winning streak -- and especially last night -- the Heat’s defense has been incredible. They held the Rockets to just 0.959 points per possession on Thursday, and their defensive rating of 100.3 is the best in the league. Their offense needs to improve, as they are averaging just 111.4 points every 100 possessions during this win streak, but it could be possible this is the beginning of Miami’s return to form.
Speaking of offense, Houston might be a play-against team until Christian Wood returns. The Rockets have now gone 0-4 SU and ATS since losing Wood to an ankle injury, and their offense is barely scraping by with 100.3 points every 100 possessions, the worst rating in the league. Three of those four games have gone under the total as well, with the lone over coming against a New Orleans team that dropped 130 points. Houston is 3-5 SU and ATS without Wood in the lineup and 6-2 to the under in those contests.
We've got a massive Friday slate to dive into, though, so let's begin!
Note: * indicates that team is on second leg of a back-to-back.
Updated injury reports can be found here.
Updated odds for every game can be found here.
Milwaukee Bucks at Utah Jazz (-1.5, 232.5)
This is the heavyweight matchup we all deserve on a Friday night. Utah rolls into this potential NBA Finals preview white-hot, with an 18-3 SU/17-4 ATS record since the beginning of January. Since getting beat up two weeks ago by Denver’s ridiculous shooting performance, the Jazz are 5-0 SU/4-1 ATS with a 14.4 net rating. They will host a Milwaukee team that is 5-1 SU and ATS since losing back-to-back games to Charlotte and New Orleans. The Bucks blew a 13-point lead in the second half on Wednesday, losing to Phoenix by a point and snapping a five-game win and cover run. So, how do we attack a game between two phenomenal teams?