Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013, up to December 25 inclusive:
The last time we checked in on the Miami Heat (22-6 SU, 13-15 ATS) and the Sacramento Kings (8-19 SU, 9-17-1 ATS), they were busy blowing out the NBA totals. The Kings took their alleged talent to South Beach and lost 122-103 to the Heat, crushing the over/under of 208 points and making us look like the basketball betting geniuses that we are. Mashed potatoes!
So here we are one week later, with Miami taking the road this time to face the Kings at the (yawn) Sleep Train Arena. Early on Friday sportsbooks have the Heat favored by 7.5 points with a total of 209. Should we just pound the OVER again this time? Possibly. Let’s see what’s changed with these two teams over the course of the past seven days.
Miami’s holiday gifts included back-to-back wins over the Atlanta Hawks and the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Heat failed to beat the NBA odds in either game. They needed overtime to put away the Hawks (+7.5 away) 121-119, and on Christmas Day, those pesky Lakers (+9.5 at home) kept hanging around before finally losing 101-95. At least Miami’s Christmas uniforms weren’t quite as ugly as everyone else’s.
Besides dropping the cash in both victories, there’s one other commonality of note: Miami didn’t have all its stud players in action. Dwyane Wade (22.8 PER) sat out the Atlanta game, and Michael Beasley (21.6 PER) didn’t play against the Lakers. It’s hard to tell when Wade is going to take one of his maintenance days, and Beasley just missed six games with a bad hamstring, so these things will happen.
One other thing: Center Chris Andersen (17.7 PER) left the Lakers game in the third quarter when his back seized up, and he did not return. There’s no word at press time about his status for Friday, so pay close attention to the newswires before placing your bets. Andersen is a very important player on a team that doesn’t have a lot of paint presence otherwise – Lord forbid if what’s left of Udonis Haslem (4.5 PER) needs to play significant minutes against the Kings.
How Can I Get You Malone
Sacramento head coach Michael Malone had a special Christmas message for his team: You guys suck. “How many times do you have to hit rock bottom?” Malone asked reporters after the Kings lost 113-100 to the New Orleans Pelicans (+1 away) on Monday. “Look at our record, we’ve hit rock bottom four or five times now.”
You’ll have to forgive Malone – he’s new in town. Truth is, the Kings have been a second-rate franchise pretty much since the day they moved from Kansas City in 1985. There was that glorious eight-year stretch when Rick Adelman was the head coach and ARCO Arena was packed with delirious fans. But that was a long, long time ago. We have YouTube now.
There is hope for the future, however. The team is under new management with Pete D’Alessandro, a reasonably bright gentleman who understands analytics and spent the past three years as an assistant GM with the Denver Nuggets under Masai Ujiri. They hooked up again earlier this month for the trade that sent SF Rudy Gay (15.4 PER) to Sacramento. And there will no doubt be further trades on the horizon, as D’Alessandro has presumably been given the financial means to remodel the franchise. Maybe he’ll even pick up some guys that can play defense. Fortunately for us, that day hasn’t arrived yet. We'll take the over in our NBA picks as we see the Heat laying down some serious points against the Kings.
NBA Pick: Take OVER 209 at Ladbrokes