The betting odds tonight favor the Miami Heat who haven't really skipped a beat without LeBron James, racing out to a 5-2 start on the season. They'll welcome to beat-up Pacers to South Beach tonight.
At a majority of sportsbooks, the Heat are favored by either 8 or 8.5 points. Yes, it's a high number, but have you seen the injuries that Indiana has had to deal with this season?
At this time, the total is at 189.5, which again isn't surprising, considering the Pacers have had a lot of trouble scoring the ball in the early stages of 2014/15. Keep checking back with the NBA odds to see if there's any further movement leading up until tipoff.
Aside from a little two-game losing streak, the Heat have looked good this season, winning five of their first seven games overall. Their two defeats came to the Rockets and Hornets.
Their latest victory was perhaps their most impressive, as they went into Dallas and beat the Mavericks 105-96.
As a team, Miami shot an impressive 55.3 percent from the floor. The most impressive performance came from Luol Deng, who had 30 points on 13-of-19 shooting (including four threes), while also chipping in five rebounds, four assists and a steal without turning the ball over.
Elsewhere, Dwyane Wade had 20 points and 10 assists, with Chris Bosh continuing his stellar season with a 20/10/5 line in 37 minutes in the winning effort. The Heat also got 18 points and four assists from Mario Chalmers off the bench, which provided a nice spark for the second unit.
In first place in the Southeast, Miami has been solid on both ends of the court. The Heat are moving the ball well, as evident by their average of 23.9 assists per game, which is the third-best mark in the NBA. Wade has been a terrific playmaker, Deng has provided stability at the small forward position, and Bosh has excelled in a larger offensive role.
Thus far this season, Miami has gone 3-1 at home, with the one defeat coming to Houston. The Heat have topped the Wizards, Raptors and Timberwolves in South Beach heading into tonight's game with the Pacers.
It's reached a point where we're almost starting to feel sorry for the Pacers.
It started, of course, with that horrific injury to Paul George, who's expected to miss the rest of the season. There have also been injuries to David West, George Hill, C.J. Watson, C.J. Miles and Rodney Stucked. As a result, Indiana has had to use a short bench to start the season, and the results have gone as expected.
Through eight games, the Pacers have won only two times, as they opened the year with a win over the 76ers and then were able to notch their second victory this past Monday against Utah.
The reason Indiana has been able to be competitive? Defense. Frank Vogel is known for being a great defensive coach, and we can see why. The Pacers rank fourth in the NBA in points allowed (94.6) and they've also been good on the board, ranking fourth in the league in that category as well.
But, will a good presence defensively and on the boards be enough to keep tonight's game close? We're not so sure.
The Pacers have managed to be more competitive than some people thought in spite of all of their injuries, but we're still staying far away from them with our NBA picks tonight.
We like what we've seen out of the Heat. They're sharing the ball, and Wade and Bosh have stepped up their play on both ends of the court. Deng has proven to be a nice addition too.
So, while eight points is a lot to lay, this is not the same Indiana team we've gotten used to seeing in recent seasons. Place your NBA pick on a healthier Miami team to win comfortably at home, while covering the large spread as well.
Free NBA Pick: Heat -8 at Bet365