Cleveland Cavaliers Face Defining Test vs Miami Heat

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Dec 19, 2023 07:00 PM
Cleveland Cavaliers Face Defining Test vs Miami Heat

We have officially reached the point in the NBA regular season where nearly every game carries significance. Sure, there will be a no-stakes clunker between two rebuilding or taking squads every now then. For the most part, though, every showdown has playoff-seeding implications. Most games will even force sportsbooks to make changes on their odds to make the 2023 NBA playoffsThe matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat on Wednesday night is no different.

Both squads enter having won their past two games. Both enter having secured one victory against the other on the season. And most importantly, both enter embroiled in intense playoff-positioning battles. Miami is currently fighting to stay out of the play-in tournament and regain one of the Eastern Conference's top-six seeds. Cleveland is attempting to fend off the New York Knicks and retain hold of fourth place and the chance to host a first-round postseason series that comes with it.

Though the Heat will be hosting the Cavs in South Beach, linemakers have the latter as (small) favorites. You can see the latest NBA online betting odds for this matchup below:

To WinBetOnlineBovadaBetUS
Cleveland Cavaliers-132-125-125
Miami Heat+105+102+105

Always remember to double-check these online NBA betting odds before placing your wager. Our Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat odds are accurate as of games played on Tuesday, March 7. With this contest slated to tip-off on Wednesday, March 8, at 7:30 p.m. EST, linemakers will have ample time to make adjustments.

However, you don't need to worry about these tweaks if you sign up with the right odds provider. That's where our reviews of the top online sportsbooks can help. Our detailed ratings will allow you to sync up with the best online NBA betting sites currently on the market.

Enough smalltalk, though. Let's get to some Cavaliers vs. Heat picks!

Will the Cleveland Cavaliers Keep Struggling Against Opponents with Winning Records?

Yes, the Cavaliers are coming off two straight victories. But their last game was an overtime win against the Boston Celtics—who were missing Robert Williams III, Jayson Tatum and Al Horfod. Cleveland has routinely made life more difficult for themselves than it needs to be.

Similarly troubling, we have also started to see some offensive drop-off from everyone on this team not named Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell. And with the latter playing through a groin injury, it makes us wonder whether they can be trusted to take care of business in Miami.

What's more, the Cavs not only have a losing record on the road, but they are 14-18 against teams .500 or better. Then again, the Heat are struggling under the same circumstances; they're 13-17 against opponents .500 or better while also sporting a worse conference record.

Complicated still, Jimmy Butler was in Los Angeles on Tuesday night to attend the jersey retirement ceremony of former Chicago Bulls teammate Pau Gasol. Turning around and flying back to Miami could take a lot out of him. We wouldn't be surprised if he was a late scratch—though we'd bet against it, as he's someone who prides himself on playing as much as possible.

This is all to say: We don't have a great feel for this premier matchup. But it is, in fact, a premier matchup. That's why we need to pick it. And with push coming to shove, we're going to bet Cleveland's superior half-court offense gets them the W.

OSB Prediction: Cleveland Cavaliers (-132)

Cleveland Cavaliers To beat the Miami Heat

The Point Spread Doesn't Provide Much Margin for Error in Cleveland vs. Miami

Below you can see the latest NBA point spread betting odds for Miami Heat vs. Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers, -2.5 (-110)
  • Miami Heat, +2.5 (-110)

Normally, we would pounce on the Cavs' point spread here. Winning by three points is nothing. At the same time, the Heat have been involved in more close games than almost anyone. Twenty-two of their contests have been decided by three points or less—by far and away the largest share in the league.

Indeed, Butler's quick trip to Los Angeles coupling with a slumping half-court offense has us worried. But we ultimately believe this game will come down to a single possession.

OSB Prediction: Miami Heat, +2.5 (-110)

Miami Heat To cover the point spread vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers

Why the Outcome of Cavaliers vs. Heat will be Determined on Defense

Here are the latest NBA over/under betting odds for Cleveland vs. Miami:

  • Over 212.5 (-110)
  • Under 212.5 (-110)

Going with the "under" here feels icky. The NBA is so offense driven nowadays that it feels like every team combines to score more than 215 points every game.

Of course, that's not the truth. And it certainly isn't the truth when it comes to the Heat vs. Cavaliers.

Cleveland has a top-10 offense, but they play super slow and don't take a ton of threes. Miami has a bottom 10 offense, and they also play super slow. That pace matters. Both the Heat and Cavaliers rank in the bottom 10 of average possession time on offense. Neither is going to overwhelm you with sheer volume.

This much has showed in their first two meetings. Miami and Cleveland have combined to score no more than 200 points through those outings. And with the Heat's offense even worse for wear since those games, we're feeling pretty confident this will be another relatively low-scoring affair—especially given that both organizations also rankin the top seven of points allowed per possession.

OSB Prediction: Under 212.5 (-110)

Cavaliers and Heat To score under 212.5 combined points

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your NBA betting needs:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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