Heat vs Pelicans Odds, Picks, and Predictions Tonight: Miami Puts Pels in a Vice

The Heat have been hobbled for most of this season, but with Jimmy Butler back, the reigning East champs can start building for the playoffs — our NBA picks they keep momentum strong tonight against the Pelicans.

Feb 23, 2024 • 14:40 ET • 4 min read
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Two teams trying to escape the play-in bubble will face off on Friday night as the Miami Heat visit the slim NBA odds favorite New Orleans Pelicans.

Miami (30-25) currently sits in the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, but is only one game out of a Top-6 position. New Orleans (34-22) is in the opposite position, sitting just one game ahead of the play-in positions in the Western Conference. 

New Orleans has home-court advantage tonight but is playing the second game of a back-to-back, while Miami will come in fresh. We’ll weigh these factors in our free NBA picks and predictions for Heat vs. Pelicans on February 23. 

Heat vs Pelicans odds

Heat vs Pelicans predictions

The Heat went into the All-Star Break playing some of their best basketball of the season. They won six of their last eight, a stretch in which their only losses were single-digit defeats to the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers. Moreover, they were good to bettors in that stretch, covering in seven of those eight contests.

Miami’s three-headed scoring monster has been giving opponents fits all season, and all three showed up to lead the team in scoring at various times during the hot streak. Jimmy Butler (21.4 points per game), Tyler Herro (21.0 ppg), and Bam Adebayo (20.2 ppg) are all in a tight race to see who will finish the year as the Heat’s leading scorer. Butler missed the last three games due to a death in the family, which should put Miami at full strength tonight.

The Pelicans are hot as well, having won eight of their last nine. That includes a 127-105 victory over the Houston Rockets last night. CJ McCollum, Zion Williamson, and Jonas Valanciunas all scored 20+ points to lead New Orleans to an easy win. 

However, all five starters still played at least 27 minutes for the Pelicans last night, which may lead to some fatigue on the second night of a back-to-back. Teams tend to experience a drop in offensive efficiency when they don’t get a day of rest between games, and NBA teams win less than 45% of the time in that situation as a result. 

That effect should be even more pronounced tonight, as Miami has enjoyed more than a week off thanks to the All-Star Break. There will be no need for minutes limits, and the Heat have enough weapons to pick and choose who will be the primary scorer depending on who happens 
to be having the best game tonight.

Those factors make this game a lot closer than some fans may think. In a vacuum, tonight’s line might look reasonable, but we’re watching a New Orleans team playing for a second consecutive night against a Heat team that is both well-rested and able to field its optimal lineup. 

That makes this game into a pure tossup for me. I debated how I wanted to bet the Heat tonight, but ultimately, I’ve decided to take the points, as this could easily be a one or two-possession game into the final minute. Having the points in that scenario is a big benefit, worth far more than the slight added payout on the moneyline. I’m taking Miami and the points tonight.

My best bet: Miami +3.5 (-110 at DraftKings)

Heat vs Pelicans same-game parlay

Heat +3.5

Over 219.5

Tyler Herro Over 18.5 points

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There’s a lot of scoring talent on the floor tonight, and even though neither team plays at pace, they still usually manage to score a fair number of points. The Pelicans have played above tonight’s total in six of their last eight games, and even Miami — one of the slowest teams in the league — has done so in three of its last five. I’m taking the Over as part of my same-game parlay.

To round out this SGP, let’s look to a Miami player to beat their scoring prop. Herro has the most generous total at just 18.5 points, so I’m going with him to hit the Over. He’s hit that total in four straight games, and looks like a good bet to get there again tonight. 

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Heat vs Pelicans spread and Over/Under analysis

The Pelicans opened tonight’s game as 3-point favorites. The consensus number has moved to New Orleans -3.5, with -110 odds on both sides of the line at most sites. 

Miami has hung right around average against the spread this year, posting a 26-28-1 ATS record. New Orleans has been positive for backers on the season, going 31-24-1 ATS. 

This should be a great game tonight, one that comes down to the final minute or two and could go either way. Considering that expectation, getting more than a full possession on the spread is a big deal. Miami has been great both straight up and ATS recently, and they’ll be full healthy and rested tonight against a New Orleans team plying the rear end of a back-to-back. I’m taking the Heat to cover.

The total for tonight’s game opened at 221 points. Bettors have taken that number down to a consensus Over/Under of about 219 points, though you can find anywhere from 218.5 to 219.5 
if you shop around. 

Miami plays at a sluggish pace for an NBA team, and the Under holds a 34-21 advantage in its games this season. New Orleans has been close to average against the total, but the Under is still ahead 29-27 when it plays this year. 

These teams deserve to have a low total attached to their game, but the question is just how low that number should go. New Orleans has regularly been playing to totals of Over 220 as of late, and averages a total of 128.7 in its games. Even Miami comes in at an average total of 221 points per night, and has been at 220 or higher in three of its last five. I’m leaning towards the Over given the stingy total here.

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Heat vs Pelicans betting trend to know

The Heat are 7-1 ATS over their last eight games overall. Find more NBA betting trends for Heat vs. Pelicans.

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Heat vs Pelicans game info

Location: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
Date: Friday, February 23, 2024
Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports New Orleans, Bally Sports Sun

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