Cleveland Cavaliers vs Miami Heat Preview (3/8/23): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

After dropping six of seven games, the Miami Heat have been able to rattle off back-to-back wins and now will look to extend their streak to three when they host the Cavaliers, another Eastern Conference team. You can find betting picks and predictions for this matchup below, as well as up-to-date injury news and projected starting lineups. Let’s get into it.

Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Miami Heat Betting Odds

Cleveland is a 1.5-point road favorite in Miami on Wednesday night. The Cavaliers are not battling any injuries at the moment, while the Heat still are not expecting Kyle Lowry to be back in the lineup. Kevin Love is also listed as questionable as of Tuesday night.

Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Miami Heat Prediction

It has been an incredibly rough season for the Miami Heat, who sit firmly in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, just one year after being the No. 1 seed.

Miami has been a defensive-minded team in recent seasons, with versatile center Bam Adebayo anchoring the defense; he can protect the rim, switch on to guards, and utilize his quick hands to deflect passes and get steals.

Unfortunately, not only do offensive issues persist for Miami (27th in 3P%, 27th in eFG%, 30th in points per game, 26th in offensive efficiency), but now, defense is a relative weakness, too.

The Heat stand at 25th in the NBA in opponent eFG%, which delineates teams’ shooting percentages against them. Occasionally, Miami is able to grab a win in a tight game because its style of play trips opponents up.

For example, if an up-tempo team is forced to surrender its usual play style because the Heat control the pace and slow the game down, that can expose opponents that struggle in the half-court. However, Cleveland loves to play slow, so the only advantage Miami truly has is mitigated in this matchup.

Cleveland makes complete sense to back here. Miami is the worst covering team at home (9-22-2) in the NBA. The Cavs are comfortable playing at the Heat’s pace, which is usually one of Miami’s only advantages against superior opponents.

These two teams have faced off twice this year, splitting the games; however, the one game Cleveland lost was by three points, and Miami played about as good as it can, shooting at over a 45% clip from deep on significant volume.

Meanwhile, the Cavs struggled immensely offensively (27% from behind the arc) and only hit 50% of their free throws (78% as a team on the season.) Don’t expect the same thing to happen here.

Betting Trends

  • Cleveland is 13-17-2 ATS on the road in 2022-23
  • Miami is 9-22-2 ATS at home in 2022-23
  • The combined over record of these two teams is 62-71 in 2022-23

Key Matchups

The key matchup between the Heat and Cavaliers revolves around the frontcourts for each team. See whether Adebayo or Allen will outperform the other and whether or not it will make a difference in the outcome of this game.

Bam Adebayo vs. Jarrett Allen

This isn’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last, time that a Cleveland frontcourt player is featured as a key matchup in a Cavaliers game. After all, the Cavs rank second in opponent non-blocked two-point percentage and allow the third-fewest points to opposing centers.

Jarrett Allen has been a pivotal piece for this Cavs team; they are just 3-4 in the seven games he has missed, exemplifying his importance. In the past few seasons, Allen had perfected the art of defending without fouling, ranking in the 99th and 100th percentile amongst players at his position. This season, he has slightly underperformed, ranking in the 92nd percentile, which is still incredibly solid.

However, the major difference between Allen in past seasons versus this season is his regression in block percentage; that was his bread and butter, and now, he isn’t that far above the 60% percentile amongst all centers.

Meanwhile, Bam Adebayo’s effective field goal percentage does not rank all that well (27th percentile, 54.4%) at his position; however, that is to be somewhat expected with his substantial improvement in scoring in isolation and increase in usage rate (95th percentile, 25%), especially for a center.

Adebayo is in the 89th percentile in assisted rate on all makes, meaning he doesn’t need someone to feed him the ball in scoring position to put points up.

Ultimately, Adebayo has the advantage in this spot, even though everything still points to Cleveland winning this game. Allen’s interior defensive presence has not been as effective as it has in past seasons, while Bam is only getting better. Advantage: Adebayo.

Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineup

PG: Darius Garland
SG: Donovan Mitchell
SF: Isaac Okoro
PF: Evan Mobley
C: Jarrett Allen

Miami Heat Starting Lineups

PG: Gabe Vincent
SG: Tyler Herro
SF: Jimmy Butler
PF: Kevin Love
C: Bam Adebayo

Key Injuries

Cleveland Cavaliers Injuries: None

Miami Heat Injuries: Kevin Love (Q), Kyle Lowry (Out)

Drew is one of the NBA Lead Writers at, specializing in betting content such as game predictions and player props. With a deep knowledge of players and prospects, Drew has an extensive edge in covering everything NBA.

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