Defensive Battle Between Bulls & Wizards Make 'Under' Our NBA Pick

Jordan Sharp

Sunday, January 3, 2016 4:14 PM GMT

Miami has been anything but consistent on the road this season, but they head into Washington, DC tonight as a slight -1 favorite in the NBA Odds, with a total of 198 points. 

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NBA Pick: UNDER 198.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

Heat’s Road Woes
Miami started the year hot, and it looked like they were going to challenge the top tier teams in the conference. Even though that still may be the case, this team has calmed down some since then. A big reason for their early-season success could have been their wealth of home games. Miami opened the season with something like 15 of their first 20 games at home, and since then they have leveled off some.

A big reason for their fall back down to earth has been their road play. Miami is only 5-6 ATS this season when playing on the road, and while they are an average offensive team according to the numbers, their road offense leaves something to be desired. Miami ranks dead last in the NBA in road scoring at 92.6 points per game, and while their road defense is one of the best units in the NBA, it is something to be concerned tonight if you like laying the point with Miami.

The Heat’s defense has been very good both at home and on the road, but a big reason for their defensive numbers has been their pace of play on offense. Miami plays at one of the slowest paces in the entire league, and it limits the amount of shots their opponent can take in a game. The Wizards on the other hand play at one of the faster paces in the league this season, but against Miami and eve at home, the Heat are going to limit their offensive possessions as much as possible.

 

The Sharp Pick
Although it is one of the lower totals of the short slate this Sunday along with the Bulls and Raptors total, the under still seems like a viable wager coming into this one. So far this season with their road scoring issues, the Heat are 9-2 cashing the under in their 11 road games against the NBA Odds. Washington has been awful defensively at times this year, but they tend to play slightly better defense at home, and if the Wizards can man up and slow down Miami, the under is the play.

The under is 4-2 in Miami’s last six games overall, while the under is 5-1 for the Wizards in their last six games overall, as well as five of their last six games at home this season have cashed the under. Even though the over has cashed in all five of the last five meetings between these two teams, only one of those was this season, and the game was in Miami. I would be very surprised to see both of these teams get into the 100s tonight like they did in the first game. While it doesn’t perfectly follow our plays on early start times, the game is slightly earlier than a normal East Coast start time, and that could play a factor as well. Look for the under to be the NBA Pick for these two teams to start the evening slate of games tonight.