Pelicans vs. Heat NBA expert prediction and odds for Friday, March 22 (Back New Orleans as a road underdog)

NBA betting preview, prediction and best bet for Pelicans-Heat. 

Mar 15, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  New Orleans Pelicans guard Trey Murphy III (25) reacts after a play against the Clippers.
Mar 15, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Trey Murphy III (25) reacts after a play against the Clippers. / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Can Miami defend its home court? The Heat finished up a four-game road trip with a 3-1 mark after a 107-104 victory over the Cavaliers on Wednesday. However, prior to hitting the road, Miami had dropped four straight.

Miami, the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference standings, is trying to get out of the play-in conversation by catching the No. 6 Pacers, whom they trail by just a half-game. Miami is a short favorite against the Pelicans on Friday night. 

New Orleans had won seven of its last eight games before dropping a road tilt to Orlando (121-106) on Thursday night. Can they finish the back-to-back strong in Miami as short underdogs? Here’s the betting preview for the cross-conference tilt with a best bet. 

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Pelicans vs. Heat odds, spread and total

Pelicans vs. Heat how to watch

  • Date: Friday, March 22 
  • Game time: 8 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Kaseya Center
  • How to watch (TV): Bally Sports
  • Pelicans record: 42-27
  • Heat record: 38-31

Pelicans vs. Heat injury report

New Orleans Pelicans

  • Brandon Ingram (knee): out 

Miami Heat

  • Duncan Robinson (back): out
  • Kevin Love (heel): out
  • Bam Adebayo (back): questionable 
  • Tyler Herro (foot): out 

Pelicans vs. Heat key players to watch

New Orleans Pelicans

Trey Murphy III: New Orleans lost Brandon Ingram in Thursday’s game against the Magic and will have to replace his 20.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. Murphy can help with that after scoring 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting with three 3-pointers against the Magic. Murphy has netted 20-plus points six of his last 11 games, dating back to Feb. 27. 

Miami Heat

Jimmy Butler: Dealing with its own injury concerns, Miami has, as expected, leaned on Butler to shoulder the weight on the offensive end. Butler is averaging 15.8 field goal attempts per game in March (his highest monthly average) and is averaging 22.4 points over eight contests. He’s coming off a 30-point night in Wednesday’s three-point win over Cleveland. 

Pelicans vs. Heat prediction and pick

These two teams met just one month ago in New Orleans with Miami pulling out a defensive-minded 106-95 win on the road. However, the Heat will have to replace the 35 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists they got from a trio of players (Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Kevin Love) who will not suit up Friday night. Miami might be without star center Bam Adebayo, too, who missed Monday’s win over Cleveland and had 24 points and 7 rebounds in the win over the Pelicans Feb. 27. 

Ingram is a big loss for New Orleans ahead of the final stretch of the regular season, but the Pelicans can still put up points with solid scorers like Zion Williamson (22.7 points per game), CJ McCollum (18.3) and Murphy (14.1). There are still five double-digit scorers in the Pelicans’ lineup to lead an offense that is top-10 in the NBA in shooting percentage.

Miami’s offense has had trouble scoring, ranking No. 27 in points per game (109.7) and No. 28 in shooting from inside the arc. The Heat are much better from downtown (No. 8 in 3-point shooting at home) but face a Pelicans’ defense that smothers the perimeter as the top-ranked unit against triples this season. New Orleans is No. 5 in scoring defense on the road this season and Miami actually scores 6.4 points fewer inside Kaseya Center. 

The Heat are just 12-20 ATS at home this season (third-worst in the NBA) and New Orleans has been profitable to backers on the road with the league’s fifth-best ATS mark in away contests (20-14-1). New Orleans bounces back after a flat performance in Orlando. Take the points. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.