Heat vs. Lakers
The Heat have cashed the over in five games in a row, which has taken them to 17-10 this season cashing the over. At just under 207 points, the Heat are almost surely going to have north of 105 points once this game is over, and it all boils down the Lakers’ offense then. Although that is a unit that has seen better days, they still have Pau Gasol, and they still have the x-factor on their side; the three-point shot.
Without a true point guard, the Lakers are going to need to knock down shots more than ever, especially against a solid defensive team like the Heat. Even though Miami can turn their defense up to 11, I doubt they unleash it too much in this game. Against a banged up Lakers team, things shouldn’t be too hard today. For the Lakers, they will have to improve on their shooting. The Lakers are a combined 10-40 in their last two games from beyond the three-point line, and if they can hit another three or four in a game today, they should have little problems at least staying within striking distance of Miami.
Gasol will likely have his mark on this game felt, even if the Lakers stay competitive, and I expect his scoring to help lift off some pressure from the Lakers’ three point shooters. With the Heat in such a scoring frenzy recently, look for the Lakers to have to shoot a bunch of threes to keep up, and against the Heat three point defense, it’s extremely possible.
Teams are shooting around 37% from three point land against Miami this season, and only three or four teams are giving up more three point attempts or makes. If the Lakers hit ten threes here, not only will they stay competitive, but they will help us carve out a nice chunk of profit on an over bet. LA’s defense is going to be the breadwinner however. In their last game against the Suns, the Lakers gave up 117 points and over a third of those points came from the three-point line. Add to the fact that the Suns shot 25 free throws, and you have the recipe for my play on this one.
NBA Pick: OVER 206 ½
The Christmas finale is a battle for California supremacy, as the Warriors play host to the Clippers. The NBA Odds have Golden State as a -2 ½ favorite, with a total of 205, and while this game could be tight, I could also see the Clippers grabbing control like they did to start the season against the Warriors. Obviously they don’t have the sharp shooting JJ Reddick for this one, but the Warriors could possibly be down a player that is much more important to Golden State than Reddick is to the Clippers.
Andrew Bogut appeared to sprain his ankle late in the game on Monday, and even though there has been no news on his status for the Christmas game, with his injury history, if it is anything more than a tweak, I can’t see him playing this game. Bogut has had too many ankle problems in the past, and playing him on a bad ankle in a somewhat meaningless December game could wreck the Warriors. Andrew Iguodala just cam back from injury, and with Golden State reliant on two veterans such as this, I would personally play it safe.
The Warriors haven’t been great at home this season ATS, as they have covered only three of their last 10 home games. While I doubt it will be as high scoring as their first encounter this season, look for the Clippers to possibly win again. If Bogut is less than 100%, the Clippers could own the paint and glass.
NBA Pick: Clippers +2 ½