Image licensed from USA Today Sports
The Houston Rockets travel to American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, to take on the Miami Heat Monday night at 8 pm EST. Currently, the Heat are favored by 9.5-points while the total stands at 216.5-points.
The Rockets enter this contest on a high after halting a 5-game losing streak as they were able to take out the Orlando Magic by 4-points to win only their 15th game of the year. Houston was able to wrestle control of this contest in the 3rd-period outscoring the Magic 32-18 to go up by 8 while holding off the Magic in the final period. And while John Wall did not suit up for this contest, the Rockets boasted three 20+point scorers on the night led by Christian Wood with 25-points and 10 rebounds while Kevin Porter, Jr. posted 22-points and 7 boards as the duo combined for 8 of the team’s 16 treys. And while the Rockets committed 19 turnovers, they forced 15 of their own while outrebounding the Magic by a 43-36 margin while covering as 1-point favorites.
The Heat were able to halt a 3-game losing skid Sunday afternoon versus the 2nd-seeded team in the Eastern Conference in the Brooklyn Nets winning by 2-points without Jimmy Butler in the starting lineup. In his place, the team ended with 6 double-digit scorers with Bam Adebayo leading the way with 21 points, 15 rebounds, along with 5 dimes on 9-16 shooting along with the game-winner. Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson combined for 8 of the Heat’s 16 treys while they heavily outrebounded the Nets by a 53-38 margin in the win. With the much-needed win, the Heat were able to cover for the 1st time in 4 games as 5-point dogs.
And while each of these teams have picked up 5 wins in their last 10 meetings, Miami is 3-1 SU in their last 4 homers versus the Rockets. The Heat are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings while covering in 3 of the last 4 at American Airlines Arena.
Rockets get much-needed win versus Magic
The Rockets prevented themselves from residing in the cellar of the Western Conference by going a half-game ahead of the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves thanks to their win over the Magic. Again, Wall did not suit up for the Rockets for what is termed as injury recovery. And while he is not on the injured list at this point, I expect him to rejoin the lineup soon. Wall recorded 5 turnovers in the team’s most recent outing versus the Heat while scoring 17-points, 6 boards, along with 7 dimes while accounting for 4 of Houston’s 15 3-pointers in their 7-point loss as the team shot just 39% from the floor.
🚀 Big plays tonight!
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) April 19, 2021
However, Houston continues to get solid minutes from their frontcourt as Olynk (20-points or more in last 3 outings) and Christian Wood (3 double-doubles in last 4) have really paced this team on both ends of the floor with the duo collecting a total of 9 steals and 6 blocks in the Rockets last 4 outings. Furthermore, Kevin Porter, Jr. has also shined from his shooting guard position posting 22-points for the 2nd time in 4 outings, despite turning the ball over 15 times during this stretch.
Finally, Houston may be able to end what has been a horrible season on a high note if they are to receive similar performances from Armoni Brooks, who posted 16-points while going 5-9 from long-range versus Orlando as he replaced Wall in the starting lineup.
Adebayo saves the Heat from 4th-straight
After Butler called out center Adebayo after their loss to the Timberwolves for failing to play ‘bully ball’ close to the rim, the center took it personally versus the Brooklyn Nets posting a double-double while recording 2 steals as the team was able to halt a 3-game losing skid without their star Butler, who is currently being hampered by a lingering ankle injury and is questionable for this contest. Nonetheless, the team creating a bit more breathing room in the East after their much-needed victory.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 18, 2021
Currently, they are 7th in the playoff standings, yet, are only a half-game ahead of the struggling Charlotte Hornets, who have suddenly dropped 4-straight games. However, the status of Butler’s injury may become a huge issue, particularly with 11 of their final 15 games of the season being against playoff-bound teams or those who are vying for a final spot.
The Heat used a huge 3rd-period to gain control of their most recent matchup versus the Rockets at Toyota Center en route to a 7-point road victory. Butler posted 27 points, 10 boards, along with 10 dimes on the night while Adebayo posted a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds (8 assists) while posting 8 of the team’s 20 turnovers. Robinson shot 5-11 from long-range for 16 points while Nunn missed 8 of 10 from deep for 15 points as the Heat shot just 43% as a team.
- Heat are 4-1 ATS in last 5 meetings.
- Heat are 3-1 ATS in last 4 home meetings.
- Rockets are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Miami.
- Rockets are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
- Rockets are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
While Houston was able to pick up a much-needed win versus the Magic, only their 4th in 12 outings, Miami is currently in must-win mode with the playoffs looming. As I pointed out, they are hanging on to the 7th spot in the east by a thread and face a very tough schedule to end their 2020-21 campaign. With this being the case, they have covered the spread in 3 of their last 4 at home versus the Rockets while going 4-1 in their last 4 meetings, overall.
And while Butler remains questionable for this contest, I expect the Heat to get it done at home versus a Rockets team that has failed to cover in 6 of their last 9 on the road.
Miami Heat -9.5
Want another opinion on this pick?
Full-Game Total Pick
The over is 6-3 in the last 9 for the Heat, including 4-1 in their last 5 homers, while being 7-3 in the last 10 for the Rockets (4-1 in their last 4 roadies). However, I like the under in this instance as it has been the result in 5 of the last 6 meetings at American Airlines Arena between these squads (4 of the last 5 meetings, overall). After being called out by Butler after their horrible loss to the Timberwolves recently, I expect the Heat to buckle down on the defensive end to finish the season as they will cool down the Rockets in this showdown as the under will certainly be the strong play.