The Charlotte Hornets are on a 7-1 run both straight-up and against-the-spread, and sneaking up on a playoff spot. They'll try to take advantage of a shorthanded and mediocre Miami outfit when they host the Heat Wednesday night.
Heat-Hornets Betting Odds
At the time of writing the NBA Odds were holding off on lining this game, because of uncertainty as to whether Charlotte F Kemba Walker will play or not. Bettors might want to wait until closer to tip-off before getting down on this game. Then again, bettors who like the Hornets could take a chance and place their bet before the line moves in the wrong direction.
Miami had won three of four, after winning at Sacramento last Friday, but dropped a game at home Tuesday night to Oklahoma City 94-86, just missing on the spread as a seven-point home dog. The Heat led by six points early in the third quarter, fell behind by nine early in the fourth, pulled to within two points with two minutes left, but ran out of gas and let the cover slip away.
Miami shot 47 percent from the floor Tuesday, and held OKC to 45 percent shooting, but committed 21 turnovers.
On the home-side of this match-up Charlotte continues to be one of the streakiest teams in the league. And at the moment the Hornets are streaking in the right direction. Back around the turn of the year Charlotte went through a five-game losing streak. But since then the Hornets have won seven of their last eight games, going 7-1 ATS, after beating Minnesota Monday night 105-80.
Charlotte led by 15 early Monday night, and by 33 in the third quarter, on its way to an easy cover as a six-point favorite. The Hornets shot 45 percent from the floor, and made 12 of 22 shots from 3-point range.
Big-picture, Miami, at 18-23, owns the seven spot in the Eastern Conference, while Charlotte, at 17-25, trails eighth-place Brooklyn by a half-game.
These teams have split two meetings so far this season; back in early November Charlotte won at home 96-89, but two weeks later Miami won at home 94-93. In that first meeting the teams combined to shoot just 41 percent from the field, which is probably why that game played UNDER its total of 190. But the teams then combined to shoot 48 percent in the second meeting, which played OVER 185.
Prior to this season Miami had beaten Charlotte 16 times in a row; of course, the Heat did most of that damage with LeBron James, who, as you might have heard, is no longer with the team.
Heat-Hornets Key Stats
Miami ranks 10th in the league in FG shooting at 46 percent, but 22nd in FG defense, allowing foes to shoot a little over 46 percent from the field.
The Heat also ranks just 26th in rebounding at -3 per game, and averages a 20/14 assist-to-turnover ratio, which also ranks near the bottom of the league.
Charlotte ranks just 28th in FG shooting at less than 43 percent, second-worst in 3-point shooting at 32 percent, but 12th in FG defense, holding opponents to a bit less than 45 percent. The Hornets also average a 20/11 assist-to-turnover ratio, and those 11 turnovers per game is best in the league.
Heat-Hornets Betting Trends
Charlotte is 10-13 SU, 9-14 ATS at home this season.
Miami is 11-10 SU, 11-9-1 ATS on the road.
Charlotte is 23-19 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, as Hornets games have averaged 194 points. However, Charlotte has also played three UNDERS in a row, as the Hornets have been playing some pretty good defense as of late.
Miami has trended toward the UNDERS this season by a 26-15 margin, as Heat games have averaged 190 points. Miami has also played eight UNDERS in a row, as it's hit the 100-point mark just once in that span.
Charlotte F Kemba Walker has missed the last two games with a sore knee, and his status for tonight is uncertain. But the Hornets just got F Al Jefferson back, after he missed nine games with a sore groin. If both those guys can get healthy and play, Charlotte might have something.
Miami F Luol Deng, who's averaging 14 and five this season, is sick and will miss Wednesday's game. Also, F Hassan Whiteside, who's been giving the Heat some good production recently, turned an ankle Tuesday night, missed the second half of the game and will miss tonight's contest.
Heat-Hornets Free Pick
It's a little difficult making a pick here when we're not sure if Walker is going to play, but generally speaking, Charlotte is the hotter team, while Miami is treading water, and will be shorthanded. Also, the Heat is playing for the second night in a row. It might be a bit risky, but regardless of whether Walker plays, we'll add the Hornets to our NBA Picks.
Free NBA Pick: Charlotte -5.5 at 5Dimes