The Cleveland Cavaliers face the Miami Heat on Friday in the second of four matchups between the two aspiring Eastern Conference contenders this season.
Miami previously blew out Cleveland 129-96 on the road on Nov. 22. However, the Cavaliers were without star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, who is now healthy. So, things could be different this time around.
The Cavaliers (12-9) enter Friday having won four of their last five games. Meanwhile, the Heat (12-9) have won two of their last three. Given that both teams have the same record, Friday’s winner will gain a leg up in the crowded East standings.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Miami Heat: Preview, betting tips and prediction
The Cavaliers and the Heat’s matchup tips off at 8 p.m. EST at the Kaseya Center in Miami, Florida. It will be broadcast live on Bally Sports Sun and Bally Sports Ohio, and can also be streamed on NBA League Pass.
Moneyline: Cavaliers (-115) vs Heat (-105)
Spread: Cavaliers (-1.0) vs Heat (+1.0)
Over/Under: Cavaliers (o219.5) vs Heat (u219.5)
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Miami Heat: Preview
Entering Friday, Cleveland and Miami both have extensive injury reports. For the Cavaliers, starting big man Evan Mobley (knee) is listed as questionable. Meanwhile, guards Caris LeVert (knee), Ty Jerome (ankle) and Ricky Rubio (personal) are out.
As for the Heat, shooting guard Duncan Robinson (groin) is considered probable. Meanwhile, guards Tyler Herro (ankle) and Dru Smith (knee), forward Haywood Highsmith (back) as well as star center Bam Adebayo (hip) are out.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Miami Heat: Predicted lineups
The Cavaliers’ starting five typically features playmaker Darius Garland along with Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt. Rounding out their frontcourt are sharpshooter Max Strus, Evan Mobley and big man Jarrett Allen.
However, if Mobley is ruled out, forwards Isaac Okoro, Dean Wade or Georges Niang could take his place in Cleveland’s starting lineup.
Meanwhile, at full strength, the Heat’s starting backcourt features veteran point guard Kyle Lowry along with Tyler Herro. Their starting frontcourt consists of superstar forward Jimmy Butler, Haywood Highsmith and Bam Adebayo.
However, with Herro, Highsmith and Adebayo sidelined for Miami, Duncan Robinson, forward Caleb Martin and second-year center Orlando Robinson should start again.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Miami Heat: Betting tips
Ahead of Friday’s matchup, Mitchell has an over/under points prop of 28.5. The four-time All-Star is coming off a 35-point performance against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
However, Mitchell has scored 23 or fewer points in seven of his last 10 games. He also averaged just 22.3 points per game over four games against the Heat last season. So, it makes sense to take the under.
Meanwhile, Butler has an over/under points prop of 25.5. The six-time All-Star is coming off a 19-point performance against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. However, he scored at least 33 points in each of his previous two games.
While Butler scored just 10 points in Miami’s first matchup against Cleveland this season, it was mostly due to the game being a blowout. Last season, Butler averaged 28.0 ppg over three games against the Cavaliers. So, he should be able to hit the over.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Miami Heat: Prediction
Cleveland will have the talent advantage with Herro and Adebayo sidelined on Friday night. However, Miami has been feisty this season and has the homecourt advantage. Meanwhile, the Cavs lack the personnel to stop Butler.
So, the Heat should have a good chance of securing the minor upset win and covering the modest spread (+1.0).