Both teams have won two of their last three with the Heat jockeying for playoff position in the East while the Pelicans are on the outside looking in, in the West. Let's grab an NBA pick tonight.
Miami Heat (40-29 SU, 36-32-1 ATS)
Over the past seven games the Heat have alternated wins and losses and if that pattern holds true tonight then a loss is headed their way. But patterns, like rules, are made to be broken and let's face it, as gamblers the only thing we are concerned about is an ATS cover. The Heat have not been kind to all those who have included them in their NBA picks recently because over the course of those seven games in which they have etched a 4-3 straight up mark, the Heat have gone a money burning 2-5 when factoring in the NBA odds boards.
Saturday night was not one of those blown covers for the Heat. In fact, Miami looked downright dangerous as they welcomed LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to the AmericanAirlines Arena. Miami outscored Cleveland in every quarter but the last and by that time the game was well in hand for the Heat. Dwyane Wade became the 41st player in NBA history to score 20,000 points and when the final buzzer sounded the home team had treated their fans to a 122-101 victory. Miami has now scored at least 100 points in their last 10 games.
New Orleans Pelicans (26-43 SU, 29-40 ATS)
There isn't much to look forward to if you happen to be a Pelicans' fan other than hoping for a high lottery pick in this year's draft. New Orleans is mired in the muck of the Western Conference with 26 wins in 69 opportunities and an ATS record of 29-40 that has done no favors for their backers this season. Even the team's star player, Anthony Davis, has been shut down for the season after logging just 14 minutes on Friday night in a 117-112 loss to Portland. Davis has been plagued with nagging injuries since he entered the league and the third year man out of Kentucky believes it is time to get everything fixed. Davis will require surgery for his knee and shoulder which will sideline him for the remainder of this season and perhaps the beginning of next.
The Pelicans entered the homestretch of the season without their resident superstar Davis on Sunday as 10-point home underdogs to the LA Clippers. But a funny thing happened without their go-to-guy in uniform, New Orleans pulled together and stunned the far more talented entry from Los Angeles with a 109-105 decision. It was truly a team effort inspired by the loss of their All-Star forward as many of the spare parts approached or surpassed their season highs. Every Pelicans starter scored in double digits while role player Tim Frazier bucketed 17 points off the bench. The Pelicans outrebounded the Chris Paul led Clippers 54-35 in the win.
The Pelicans have acquitted themselves quite nicely against the Heat in recent memory with a 3-2 straight up and ATS record over their last five contests while winning their last pair and covering the number when the game is played in New Orleans. But the Pelicans are shorthanded to begin with and now without Anthony Davis. I realize that did little to deter them from having what may have been their best game of the season in their last outing against LA but rallying around the flag only works for so long.
Miami is a team with plenty to play for as they are currently knotted in a virtual three-way tie for third in the Eastern Conference. Here are a few stats to chew on:
Miami is 4-1 ATS in their last five games vs. a team with a win percentage below .400.
Miami is 9-4 ATS in their last 13 road games.
Miami is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points.
New Orleans is 2-5 ATS over their last seven contests
?Let's look for the Heat to break the pattern, cover the number and dribble out of the Bayou a winner.