Los Angeles Clippers vs. Miami Heat Preview (12/8/22): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

The limping Los Angeles Clippers (14-12) travel to face the deflated Miami Heat (11-14) in a battle between slow starts. Both squads are coming off terrible losses, as Orlando defeated Los Angeles and Detroit prevailed over Miami. Unfortunately for the Clippers, they will be without Kawhi Leonard, Norman Powell, and Terance Mann. Meanwhile, Butler, Vincent, and Oladipo are questionable while Lowry is out.

Which team will halt their descent down the standings? Odds, predictions, key matchups, and starting lineup are below.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Miami Heat Betting Odds

Miami’s home-court advantage was assuredly factored heavily into the lines despite them being last in home cover percentage (25%). The spread is -6 Heat with their moneyline at an unattractive -215. On the other hand, the Clippers moneyline can be had at +205, which means they must win 33% of the time to be profitable. Finally, the over under is tiny at 213.5 points – by far the lowest line today.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Miami Heat Prediction

Trusting either team this season has been a headache, but there is too much value on the Clippers to bypass them. I believe Los Angeles wins this matchup around 50% of the time, which is a +17% boost from the required threshold. Therefore, I’m taking the Clippers moneyline and to cover the +6.5 spread. They are 6-1 ATS in the last seven matchups versus Miami, so recent history is on their side.

The Heat (26th OR, 12th DR) and Clippers (28th OR, 5th DR) are both struggling mightily to consistently create offense while playing excellent defense. However, Los Angeles has greater potential and an overall better matchup.

Miami’s best source of offense has been through the pick and roll. They rank 5th in pick and roll ball handler offense due to their crafty ball handlers and Bam’s rolling ability. The Heat also thrive in transition, as they are the 9th most efficient transition offense. Outside of these areas though, it’s been tough sledding for a Heat squad that shoots poorly – they own a catch and shoot 3PT% of 32.9%.

The Clippers have a stable of long, athletic wing defenders that shut down passing lanes, exert on-ball pressure, and switch flawlessly. As a result, Los Angeles ranks 5th defending the pick and roll ball handler and 11th in transition defense. Zubac has also been dominant deterring opponents and contesting shots, so Bam will struggle to create any space on rolls. Therefore, the Heat’s most efficient offensive options are likely neutralized, which spells trouble for a team that already ranks 26th in Offensive Rating. The sole area Miami can expose is pull-up shooting, so Herro and Butler are absolutely crucial for a functioning offense.

On the other end, the Heat are ill-equipped to handle the Clippers shooting. Los Angeles owns a sparkling 38.1 catch and shoot 3PT%, and they can run a five-out offense if they desire. Meanwhile, Miami allows the 5th most open+wide open 3PA when adjusted for pace, so the Clippers may unleash a barrage of three-pointers.

Finally, Paul George is still a hyper-elite wing who can absorb Butler’s best shot and throw a devastating counterpunch. In addition, Morris has been fantastic and will match Kawhi’s current lost production. In a matchup where it’s difficult to trust either team, George and Morris are the more consistent source of production over the shaky Heat, who just lost 116-96 to the 7-19 Pistons sans Cunningham.

Now, Miami still has a great chance to win – I stated earlier that it’s a 50-50 contest in my mind. But the +6.5 spread and +205 moneyline is simply too much of an advantage to not back the Clippers.

Betting Trends

  • Clippers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall
  • Heat are 8-17-1 ATS in their last 26 games overall
  • Clippers are 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings
  • Over is 6-0 in the last 6 meetings

Key Matchups

Which team will win the positional matchups? Check out below for these vital battles.

Injuries

The injury battle is key here. Kawhi, Powell, and Mann are out, but the Clippers return Morris, Kennard, and Wall. In terms of production, that’s probably a wash right now. On the other end, the Heat lost Kyle Lowry, a steady ball handler and playmaker for an inconsistent team. If Butler doesn’t play, then the Heat are in serious trouble.

Bam Adebayo vs. Ivica Zubac

When Bam is aggressive, he’s a serious offensive threat that owns high shot quality. However, the Clippers rank 3rd defending the rim in large part because of Zubac’s superb positioning and timing. Bam’s offense would still have the edge if he banishes his passivity, but that swings to Zubac should he fail to seek his own shot and demand the ball. The rebounding battle will also be crucial. Because both offenses routinely struggle, offensive rebounds will be at a premium because put-back are excellent sources of offense.

Los Angeles Clippers Starting Lineup

PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Paul George
SF: Nicolas Batum
PF: Marcus Morris
C: Ivica Zubac

Miami Heat Starting Lineups

PG: Tyler Herro
SG: Gabe Vincent
SF: Jimmy Butler
PF: Caleb Martin
C: Bam Adebayo

Key Injuries

Los Angeles Clippers Injuries: Kawhi Leonard (O), Norman Powell (O), Terance Mann (O)

Miami Heat Injuries: Jimmy Butler (Q), Tyler Herro (P), Kyle Lowry (O), Gabe Vincent (Q), Victor Oladipo (Q), Duncan Robinson (P), Dewayne Dedmon (Q), Haywood Highsmith (P), Nikola Jovic (P), Omer Yurtseven (O)

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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