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MIAMI HEAT OVER 43.5 WINS @ -115 The Greek / -117 Bookmaker

We will have this season an even bigger difference of quality between Eastern and Western teams and so, my focus was to find an Eastern team that could take advantage of its games against lowly teams. The team that I've picked is the Miami Heat, which plays in the Southeast division, the only division in the league without a team predicted to win at least 50 games. 

Miami started last season terribly with a 11-30 record, but finished the season with a 30-11 stretch, the second best record in the league in the second half of the season, only behind Golden State. So, what version will we have of the Heat for this season? I don't expect them to win at the same rate they did during last year's second half of the season, but they have an identity, a high quality roster, a good coach and a favorable schedule, perfect ingredients for an over bet. 

Miami 2016-17: Bad vs. Good

Runs

Pace

Rank

Off. Rtg

Rank

Def. Rtg

Rank

 11-30

97.1

22

100.6

29

104.9

12

30-11

98.1

16

109.7

8

103.3

3


In this new era, a team in order to have an elite defense needs to be able to protect the rim well and have good perimeter defensive players as well. Miami has these two ingredients and this was the reason why they were the 5th best defense in the league last season. They were the second best defensive team at the rim, thanks to Hassan Whiteside, while they also have plenty of versatile players in the wings that can switch well and be effective on defense: Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, James Johnson and Rodney McGruder.

While their defense was solid all season long last year, their improved offense was the main responsible for that great 30-11 run during the second half of the season. Goran Dragic had a rough start of the season and he missed some games. His November numbers were fairly poor with 15.6 points per game for 41.1% FG, easily his worst month of the season! By the way, the Heat went 1-7 in games where Dragic didn't play. He is an underrated player who is coming from a MVP award in this summer's Eurobasket, where he carried his national team to its first European championship. On the other hand, Miami's biggest problem on offense last season was their lack of shooting on the frontcourt. They even gave minutes to Josh McRoberts and Derrick Williams, never a good sign. However, during this offseason, they added Kelly Olynyk, a big man who can stretch the floor and play alongside Whiteside on the frontcourt if needed. 

In conclusion, Miami will have an elite defense and solid depth to use its high octane kick and drive game, which will help them have a reasonable offense, good enough to comfortably beat the weaker teams in the Eastern conference. Miami should beat this regular season wins total line rather comfortably and even a division title isn't out of question with both Washington (Markieff Morris) and Charlotte (Nicolas Batum) already losing a key player each for some months due to injury.

Last modified on Tuesday, 10 October 2017 18:34

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