Capper Leans On Heat As The Sharp NBA Picks vs. Mavericks

Jason Lake

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 1:53 PM GMT

The enigmatic Miami Heat took one on the chin in Houston. They'll have to suck it up and get ready for the Dallas Mavericks, one of this year's best NBA picks.

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NBA Pick: Miami -2
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Feb. 1: 17-20-1 ATS, 5-1-1 Total

 

The Miami Heat? Oh jeez. We've already seen enough of them here at the home office. Three times we've made NBA picks against the spread involving the Heat, and our record is 1-1-1 ATS. We figured they were toast Sunday night against the Atlanta Hawks ( –3 away), but Miami prevailed 105-87. Then the Heat got blown out 115-102 by the Houston Rockets (–4.5 at home) on Tuesday. Bed goes up, bed goes down.

Miami's got the short turnaround to get to Dallas for Wednesday's game (8:30 p.m. ET) against the Mavericks, who have been very good to bettors this year – when they don't give Dirk Nowitzki surprise maintenance days, that is. Sadly, we don't have any NBA odds for this matchup as we go to press; both teams have key players listed as questionable, but we'll do our best to figure this one out.

 

Always Look on the Whiteside of Life
First, the usual suspects. FiveThirtyEight says Dallas –5.5 would be a “fair” point spread using its Elo-based system, while Basketball-Reference has the Mavericks (28-23 SU, 29-21-1 ATS) about a half-point behind the Heat (27-22 SU, 24-24-1 ATS) for a kayfabe spread of Dallas –3.5. Neither of those projections takes into account injuries or back-to-back situations, but they're a good baseline to start your handicapping from.

Now we have to see who's going to play. Center Hassan Whiteside (23.4 PER, +1.5 BPM) sat out again for Miami on Tuesday with an oblique injury, but he might be able to play Wednesday. Some hoopheads think the Heat are better off without Whiteside clogging up the paint, that he's the reason PG Goran Dragic (13.5 PER, –0.6 PER) is struggling so much this year. Interesting. They do seem to have more flow with Amar'e Stoudemire (17.8 PER, –0.4 BPM) at the 4-spot and Chris Bosh (21.8 PER, +3.4 BPM) playing center. Hmmmmm.

 

Land of Contusion
Dallas has an intriguing center of its own in your hero and mine, Salah Mejri (18.1 PER, –0.2 BPM). Sadly, Mejri has a sore right knee – he didn't end up playing against the Hawks, either, and he's iffy for Wednesday, too. Not that big of a deal with Zaza Pachulia (17.6 PER, +2.3 BPM) back in the lineup, I suppose.

The bigger question mark is starting point guard Deron Williams (14.3 PER, –0.1 BPM). He took a hard fall on his hip against Atlanta and is listed as day-to-day with a contusion. Back-up Devin Harris (14.1 PER, +1.0 BPM) remains out with a sprained toe, so this could leave Dallas with a combination of Ray Felton (12.3 PER, –0.7 BPM) and J.J. Barea (13.8 PER, –1.9 BPM) running the offense on Wednesday. Hawks PG Jeff Teague ended up scoring 32 points against the Mavs with Williams leaving early. We'll take our chances with Miami, but as always, consider waiting until shootaround before pulling the trigger.