Bet the most/under with imminent injuries (November 14)

Suns vs Heat Ratings

Ratings of the suns +1.5
Heat Ratings -1.5
More less 216
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via DraftKings. Keep up to date NBA Odds here.

Monday night, the Miami Heat welcome the Phoenix suns in “the arena formerly known as FTX”. I predict this will be a fun inter-conference matchup between two powerhouses, but two big names loom on the injury report. Both Chris Paul and Tyler Herro are listed as questionable with foot injuries.

I expect we won’t get clarity on their statuses until Monday night, so let’s break down the game and see if we can extract some bet value with that in mind.

Defense slips for shorthanded Suns

Paul is in danger of missing his third game in a row. It looks like the Suns aren’t willing to risk further injury to their star point guard at such an early stage in the regular season.

The Suns’ offensive rating drops by 7.8 points per 100 possessions when off the field, per Basketball Reference. It’s no surprise that one of the best playmakers of all time would give any attack a boost, but that doesn’t necessarily mean more points as the overall pace is slower and the rating defensive gets better when he plays. Without Paul in the roster, the Suns are 13-8 over since the 2020-21 season.

Cameron Payne will be the starting point guard if Paul is out again, and he’ll share ball handling duties with Devin Booker. Both to push pace a bit more.

The Suns will be without Cameron Johnson for 1-2 months as he recovers from knee surgery. They missed their soft shot winger as he was hitting 2.8 3 points per game on 43.1% shooting from behind the arc. Unfortunately, with Jae Crowder gone, Johnson out and Paul potentially out for another game, their rotation is extremely thin.

Their defense suffered – they gave up 114 points to Orlando Magic and 117 points at Minnesota timber wolves. I think they might have some issues with the Heat as well.

Is the market wrong about the heat?

The Heat started off slow this season going 6-7 and a dreadful 3-9-1 ATS. Only the Lakers performed less well against spread.

Their defense has taken a step back this season – now ranked 15th from fourth last season, per NBA Advanced Stats. Losing PJ Tucker and Markieff Morris in the offseason took a lot of courage and tenacity from this Heat team. They re-signed Victor Oladipo last summer, but he has yet to play a game this season.

To replace Tucker, they moved Herro to the starting lineup. Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and Caleb Martin all got extra playing time this season. With Herro out, Strus took this opportunity to step up and shine. He scored 31 points in Miami’s last game against the Charlotte Hornets.

Miami’s three games this season without Herro have exceeded the total. Here’s an interesting stat: As of the 2019-20 season, the Heat are 20-7-1 at home when Herro is sitting, according to SDQL at give me the dog. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but maybe the market is over-adjusting its absence.

Due to their high defensive intensity and tough style of play, Heat game totals are usually very low. They had a strong above/below record over the past two years. For games where the total is 218 or less, it’s 60-35-7 at most (63.2%), depending on the SDQL.

Suns-Heat Pick

I think with both defenses having taken a back seat lately, most are worth a look here. Paul looks likely to sit down, and if he does, I think the Suns defense will suffer and they’ll play faster.

I’d like Herro to adapt more, but they showed they didn’t miss a beat, with Strus getting more touches as a result. I’m making that total of 219, so I think there’s some value here up to 217.

If Herro is out, I would strongly consider taking a look at Strus’ 3-pointer accessories. He’s averaged 8.8 3-point attempts in his six starts. He could be in for another big night behind the arc.

Take: Over 216

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