- The Miami Heat are separating themselves from the Southeast field
- Is now the right time to jump on the Heat?
- Is there any value in betting a late surge from the Magic or Hornets?
With just a dozen or so games to go in the NBA regular season, it appears that one team finally wants to take the Southeast Division.
The Miami Heat have separated themselves from the pack in just 11 days, quickly pushing the Charlotte Hornets out as the odds-on-favorite, punctuated with a road win in OKC Monday night.
⚡️ D. Wade was so D. Wade tonight in OKC!
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 19, 2019
It’s more a turtle derby than a race, though, as no team in the Southeast has more wins than losses on the season.
Miami currently occupies the eight seed, with the Magic and Hornets still in range. This should be an interesting stretch run.
2019 Southeast Division Odds
|Team||Record||Odds at Bovada|
*Odds taken 03/19/19
Heat Fortunes Turned in Late February
The Heat’s turnaround started out as a potential death knell, when they dropped three straight games, including back-to-back home losses to the Pistons and then the lowly Suns.
The following game, with the defending champion-Warriors in town, a wild double-clutch from Miami’s veteran superstar helped turn things around.
DWYANE WADE CIRCUS SHOT GAME WINNER OH MY GOD pic.twitter.com/qYsqm5FglI
— Devin Keller (@DevinKeller25) February 28, 2019
Dwyane Wade’s heroics have pushed the Heat to a new level, as they’ve gone 7-2 in March, with a pair of important W’s against the Hornets, to even the season series.
🔥 Miami Heat since March 2 🔥
— Simon Smith (@SimonSperling) March 19, 2019
But they’re not in the clear just yet. Miami has a tough slate coming home, with games against the red-hot Spurs, a tilt each with the Bucks, Raptors, and 76ers, as well as a home-and-home with the Celtics. And there are still a couple of in-division meetings with the Wizards and Magic.
Can Magic or Hornets Make a Push?
For a team that’s in the bottom half of almost every major offensive category, including 26th in scoring (they top out at 13th in assists), Orlando has the ability to stay in the thick of things until the end, thanks to a defense that’s fourth in points allowed per game, and ball security (top five in fewest turnovers a contest).
It's Vucevic's 7th 20/20 game of his career! pic.twitter.com/pocEszu6z8
— NBA Fantasy (@NBAFantasy) March 18, 2019
After a pair of winnables coming up against the Pelicans and Grizz, they play their final nine against East foes, including one against Miami, and five others that are playoff bound.
The Hornets have dropped four of their last five, and face a murderers’ row that will likely push them off the cliff.
After losing on Tuesday night, the Hornets have dropped four of their last five, and face a murderers’ row that will likely push them off the cliff. After taking on Minnesota, four of their next five include Boston, Toronto, San Antonio, and Golden State.
What’s the Best Bet Here?
The Heat will always have trouble scoring – they’re just 25th in the NBA – but they are well coached and they grind, as evidenced by their third-best mark of points allowed (they’re just one of three teams to hold opponents under 106 points a a game in the score-happy NBA).
With the Heat wanting nothing more than to extend Wade’s last dance, it’s a worthy wager they finish strong and take the Southeast.
Orlando might not catch them, but look for odds on them getting into the playoffs.
BAD NEWS FOR BROOKLYN
The Utah Jazz beat the Brooklyn Nets 114-98.https://t.co/8a0qn892f9
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) March 17, 2019
Seventh-seeded Brooklyn has lost three of four and if Miami keeps surging, that might be the Magic’s target.
After Friday’s game against the Lakers, Brooklyn plays a team with a winning record in their next seven, with heavies Milwaukee (twice), Boston, Portland, and Philadelphia in the mix.