Houston Rockets vs. Miami Heat: Predictions, Starting Lineups (1/8/24)

The Houston Rockets (18-16) face the Miami Heat (20-15) this Monday (1/8/24). Get Rockets vs. Heat moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.

Houston Rockets vs. Miami Heat Prediction

Both teams roster elite defensive head coaches, rank top five in under percentage, and sit bottom five in pace.

Miami allows the fewest points per game and fewest assists per game to opposing centers due to Bam Adebayo’s brilliance. His quickness, physicality, and IQ do not bode well for Alperen Sengun’s offensive style. Whether it’s Sengun’s ball fakes or footwork, Adebayo has the defensive chops to nullify his impact and subsequently disrupt Houston’s offense. Meanwhile, Haywood Highsmith and Jaime Jaquez Jr. are gritty, smart defenders that can mark Jabari Smith Jr’s cuts and off-the-dribble attempts, thus further slashing Houston’s production.

Houston’s top weapon will be their guards gaining advantages against Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. Josh Richardson’s return bolsters Miami’s backcourt defense though, and no coach can hide weaknesses like Erik Spoelstra. Although VanVleet and Green likely produce, Miami’s defense still has the potential to deflate Houston’s shaky offense.

On the other end, the Heat have averaged 109.9 points in 11 games sans Jimmy Butler this season. There are too many stretches of poor shot-making and lackluster self-creation without him on the court. Houston is missing their top two defenders (Dillon Brooks and Tari Eason), but they maintain a capable point-of-attack defense, along with solid wing defenders. Miami’s three-point offense (third in 3PT%) may also struggle because the Rockets rank tenth defending catch-and-shoot threes based on surrendered opponent shot quality (per ShotQuality).

Overall, this game projects to be sluggish and physical, which indicates the under.

Houston Rockets vs. Miami Heat Prediction: Under 220 Total Points (-110 DK)

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Houston Rockets vs. Miami Heat Best Odds

Miami enters this game as four point favorites, although they have struggled this season with a 5-10 record against the spread at home. On the other hand, the Rockets are 6-6-1 against the spread on the road. Houston must win this game roughly 40 percent of the time for their +150 moneyline to be profitable in the long run.

Houston Rockets Starting Lineup

PG: Fred VanVleet
SG: Jalen Green
SF: Jae’Sean Tate
PF: Jabari Smith Jr.
C: Alperen Sengun

Miami Heat Starting Lineup

PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Tyler Herro
SF: Jaime Jaquez Jr
PF: Nikola Jovic
C: Bam Adebayo

Houston Rockets vs. Miami Heat Injuries

Dillon Brooks, Tari Eason, and Victor Oladipo remain sidelined for Houston, while Miami will miss Jimmy Butler, Caleb Martin, and potentially Kyle Lowry, who is questionable with an illness.

Houston Rockets vs. Miami Heat Key Matchups

Fred VanVleet & Jalen Green’s 3PT Shooting

Miami allows the 11th most open plus wide open three-point attempts per 100 possessions. They also give up the fourth most made threes per game to point guards and the seventh most to shooting guards. VanVleet is up to a 39.8 3PT% on 7.6 attempts per game this season, so the veteran can exploit the Heat.

Jalen Green possesses the talent to join him, but his streaky shooting may hinder the former second overall pick. Green owns a career 34.2 3PT%, although he has made 24 of his past 53 attempts, or 45.3 percent. If his recent hot shooting continues, then Houston’s offense likely performs better than expected here.

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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