- The Miami Heat have successfully bounced back this season after missing the playoffs and losing Dwyane Wade to retirement last season. The Heat are currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and have clinched a playoff spot. However, bettors should not treat the Heat as credible title contenders.
- The Heat’s offseason acquisition of five-time all-star Jimmy Butler has paid off. Butler leads the Heat in points and assists per game. But a team with Butler as its best player is not a team that can win a championship. Butler has been solid, but not spectacular, in the playoffs since he left the Chicago Bulls.
- The Heat’s impressive 41-24 record can be attributed to their incredible performance at home. Miami has the third best home record in the entire league. However, Miami has struggled significantly on the road. They’ve lost 19 of their 33 road games this season. None of the remaining regular season games will take place at American Airlines Arena in Miami.
- The Heat missed a golden opportunity to substantially improve their roster at the trade deadline. Instead of landing a potential game-changing player like Danilo Gallinari, the Heat could only add Jae Crowder and Andre Igoudala. Neither Crowder and Igoudala are difference makers at this stage of their careers.
- Bettors should fade the Heat for the remainder of the season and the playoffs. They are a team ripe for a first round defeat. The people who make NBA expert picks aren’t backing the Heat and neither should you
A Star But Not A Superstar
Jimmy Butler has met the high expectations that were placed on him when the Heat completed a sign-and-trade deal for him this offseason. Butler leads the team in scoring, assists, win shares, and even has the ability to move an NBA point spread on his own. He boasts the highest value over a replacement player on the team. The Heat’s improvement this season can largely be attributed to Butler’s presence.
However, a team with Butler as its best player is not a championship contender. Butler is an all-star because he’s good at everything. But he’s not a superstar because he’s not excellent at anything. Butler only has four 30-point games this season. Butler is also having one of the worst three-point shooting seasons of his career. Butler has averaged just 18.3 points, 6 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game in his last two postseasons. Those are not the numbers of a superstar who can carry a team to a championship.
No More Home Cooking
Besides the Philadelphia 76ers, no team relied more on its home court advantage to win games than the Heat. The Heat are 27-5 at home this season but just 14-19 on the road. That made the Miami Heat an absolute force for bettors who love to lay down cash on NBA money line home favorites. The Heat’s offense fell off a cliff whenever they had to go on the road. The Heat have an offensive rating of 116.6 at home but a rating of 107.9 on the road. Unfortunately for Miami’s championship hopes, none of the remaining regular season games will be in Miami.
Failure At The Trade Deadline
News reports at the trade deadline suggested that the Heat sought to land Danilo Gallinari. Unfortunately, the Heat had to settle for Jae Crowder and Andre Igoudala as their deadline acquisitions. Crowder and Igoudala are nothing more than serviceable role players. Neither Crowder nor Igoudala adds the offensive juice that the Heat needed to become a true championship contender.
Bettors should look to fade the Heat for the rest of the regular season and to bet on a first round defeat. While all-star Bam Adebayo has had a breakout season and Duncan Robinson has emerged as one of the best three-point shooters in the league, the Heat lack the talent to make a deep playoff run, let alone win a playoff series. The uncertainty over where the NBA playoffs will take place is another bearish sign for a team that has already reached the limits of its capabilities.
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