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The first place Miami Heat look to keep things rolling against the Blazers while the Utah Jazz host the Houston Rockets after a bad loss. NBA expert Jonathan Macri is here with his predictions and picks for Wednesday night.

Miami Heat vs. Portland Trail Blazers Prediction: Heat Continues March to the Top

Miami Heat vs. Portland Trail Blazers Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

When: Wednesday, January 19, 7:30 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass

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Heat vs. Trail Blazers Line Movement

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Miami Heat vs. Portland Trail Blazers Prediction

Everything old is new again.

Or at least that's the case with the Miami Heat, who started the season by rampaging to the top of the standings with a level of play that blew away the rest of the league over the season's first two weeks. After that, they were largely a middling team for most of the next few months, spending much of December in 5th place in the conference.

Injuries and COVID-related absences didn't help, as prominent players Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo have missed significant time, but now the whole #HeatCulture gang is healthy. Better yet, they've survived their woes and enter this game tied for first place in the increasingly tightening East. Their most recent game, in which Bam made his return, was an impressive home win against the Raptors, making it 10 wins in 13 games for Miami.

The Blazers' team they face here is on a nice streak of their own, having won four of five games, including impressive victories over the Nets and Wizards. The one loss, however, reveals their limitations against the best of the best. Three games ago, they went into Denver and gave up 140 points to the Nuggets, coming away with a 32-point loss.

Miami doesn't usually put up that sort of number, but they have topped 115 in eight of their last 13 outings. The Blazers, despite their feistiness, still sport the second-worst defense in basketball, and the Heat should be well-equipped to shut down their offense. The line here isn't small but also isn't prohibitive, and Miami has the 6th best cover rate in the league at just over 59 percent. Give the points here.

Heat vs. Trail Blazers Pick

Utah Jazz vs. Houston Rockets Prediction

When: 9:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass

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Jazz vs. Rockets Line Movement

Utah Jazz vs. Houston Rockets Prediction

It's understandable to be scared off by such a large number here, especially with Donovan Mitchell in concussion protocols and out for this game. The Jazz are coming off a bad loss to the Lakers while the Rockets are heading in from a nice victory over the Kings.

And no, it's probably not the best idea to give so many points and take a team missing it's nominal best player, especially not in this NBA season, when there is no such thing as a safe bet. Any team can go into any other team's building and win, let alone cover.

With this as the backdrop, don't overthink this one. The game is in Utah, where the Jazz have been 7.5 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents even when Donovan Mitchell hasn't been on the floor, according to NBA.com/stats. They're also playing the Rockets, who have a an average margin of defeat of 10.8 points this year as a road underdog, which they are here.

Most importantly, the Jazz may not be perfect (as Monday's Lakers game showed) but they rarely stay down for long, and they're as safe a bet as any team in the NBA to rebound well from a disappointing loss. Finally, it's worth noting that in the three games this season that Mitchell has missed but that Rudy Gobert has been healthy for, the Jazz have won all three games, all on the road, by an average of 13 points.

It's a lot, but give the points at home.

Jazz vs. Rockets Pick

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Article Author


Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.


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