Heat vs. Trail Blazers: the best player prop bets for Jan. 5th
The Miami Heat are in the Pacific Northwest to take on the Portland Trail Blazers tonight midway through a six-game road trip away from South Beach. The Heat have suffered attrition already, having fumbled two in a row as well as losing Jimmy Butler to an ankle sprain in their latest loss against the Golden State Warriors. The Trail Blazers, meanwhile, have slipped all the way to 14-22 and are struggling to keep hopes of a play-in spot alive with their two top guns, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, sidelined.
It will be up to Heat guards Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro to carry the torch into Portland, while the Blazers’ youth movement led by Anfernee Simons and Nasir Little will do their best to douse their flame.
Heat vs. Blazers is set to begin at 10:00 p.m. ET on League Pass. Our picks for the three best player prop bets are below.
Thu, January 6 2022, 3:00 AM
POR Trail Blazers
KYLE LOWRY OVER/UNDER 2.5 3-POINTERS MADE
The Blazers are a disaster this year. Former general manager Neil Olshey fired long-tenured head coach Terry Stotts during the offseason because Stotts couldn’t wring a defense better than a bottom-five unit out of the Blazers. But despite bringing in Chauncey Billups, who talked a big game about effort and has done all kinds of experimenting with scheme, the Blazers still stink on that end. They are tied for last in the NBA with the Houston Rockets, a team playing several teenagers and actively trying to lose.
That’s great news for Kyle Lowry and the sometimes sputtering Heat offense. Lowry is a canny vet and a preternatural sharpshooter, but he doesn’t like to hunt his own offense unless it’s forced upon him. Well, it’s likely being forced tonight. The Heat are without a lot of their scoring punch with Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Duncan Robinson sidelined, and the Blazers' best defensive players play the four or the five.
Lowry will likely take command of the offense from the perimeter, and should find his usual off-ball work fruitful as the Blazers let opponents take an unusual amount of their shots as corner 3s.
ANFERNEE SIMONS OVER/UNDER 3-5 3-POINTERS MADE
If you haven’t been watching the Blazers much lately (and frankly, who could blame you?) this might sound like an absurd line. But Simons is coming off the game of his life against the Atlanta Hawks, where he scored a career-high 43 points and hit 9-16 from 3. Simons has long been touted as a high-level prospect by the Blazers organization, but outside a few flashes, it wasn’t clear he was going to reach that potential.
Now with Dame and CJ both out, Simons has been unleashed like never before. This is a high line, but there’s every reason to think the value it provides is worth it. Firstly, Simons has consistently been a pure shooter. He’s shooting 39.0% from 3 this season, after a 42.6% mark last year. He’s also shooting over 95% at the line now, which is a strong indicator that his technique and form are consistent.
Furthermore, the Heat are going to gift him these shots. Miami, perhaps more than any other team in the NBA, has embraced the philosophy of allowing opponents to take a high volume of 3s if it means that they can completely shut down attacks on the rim. 43.5% of Heat opponents' shots are 3-pointers, by far the highest mark in the league this season. Simons knows this is his opportunity to make his mark on the league, and if the Heat want to make this a shootout, he’ll happily oblige.
TYLER HERRO OVER/UNDER 23.5 POINTS
Tyler Herro may well be the frontrunner for the Sixth Man of the Year Award this season. Despite coming off the bench in all but 10 of Miami’s games, he leads the Heat in usage rate (29.5%), which means when he comes in the game he has the greenest of green lights to take over the offense.
But curiously he has not held up as well when called upon as a spot starter this year as he is again tonight. Herro is averaging 20.4 points this season in 30.8 minutes, which only rises to 20.5 points in 36.8 minutes as a starter. There could be a few reasons for this. He might be at a greater athletic disadvantage against your average starter, or he might just be more comfortable coming off the bench. In either case, despite an increased role tonight, there’s no reason to bet on increased production.