Heat To Burn Wizards On Monday Night

Jay Pryce

Monday, December 12, 2016 1:44 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 12, 2016 1:44 PM UTC

The slumping Heat look to rebound against an improving Wizards squad at American Airlines Arena. Miami has won three of the last four encounters, are the Heat going to win this time around? Get your free game pick with betting preview here.

Washington Wizards (9-13 SU, 9-13 ATS)

The Wizards appear to be turning their season around winning three of their last four contests. A victory tonight will give them three in a row for the first time this season. They’ll have to pick up their away form to do so. Washington is 2-7 SU and 3-6 ATS away from the Verizon Center.

The changes allowing for the winning streak involve head coach Scott Brooks leaning on a smaller lineup. Bad boy forward Markieff Morris is riding the bench more often with small forward Kelly Oubre seeing more minutes. Defense benefits the most in the change-of-pace alteration. The new 5-man grouping owns the second-best defensive rating in the league over the last 10 games.

Where this configuration hurts the team is on the boards. The Wiz already pull down a measly 31.5 defensive rebounds per game (28th in the NBA) and gifting more second-chance opportunities may doom them in the future.

Offensively, John Wall and company are playing faster with the changes. Its 98.4 possessions per 48 minutes over the last five games rank seventh. Over the last six games, Washington is averaging 108.2 points per game, scoring more than the betting market expects in all but one.

 Miami Heat (7-17 SU, 11-13 ATS)  

The Heat have dropped five in a row and are one loss away from the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. They have not been well-getting points at home, going 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS at American Airlines Arena.

Miami scored their most points this season in an 114-111 victory over the Wizards at Verizon Center. Center Hassan Whiteside registered 18 points and 18 rebounds in the win. Washington struggled to match up one-on-one in the loss. Whiteside proved the most difficult with the backcourt helping little to clear him out of the post on offense.

Defense is the key to the Heat’s success. It holds teams to 47.8 percent shooting on two-point attempts and excels at guarding the arc. The unit yields 7.6 3-pointers on 21.7 attempts per game, fewest in the NBA in each category.

 Washington Wizards vs Miami Heat

The Heat close down pick-and-roll plays aggressively, so good ball movement can dismantle the defense. The Wiz faced a similar scenario at Milwaukee on Saturday and turned to the smaller lineup to neutralize the unit. It worked. Then again, the Bucks don’t have Whiteside owning the paint. Miami may relish the changes with the big man isolated in the middle.

The concern here is Washington’s defense. Brooks’ squad has lost four of six games as chalk against teams averaging 103 points or less on the year. All but one opponent has gone over it projected team total by an average of 10.7 points per game. Whiteside proves a matchup nightmare and the new changes may not benefit the team against Miami. Take the small value on the Heat straight up in a coin-flip encounter. Miami +100 on the money line is my NBA expert pick.


Free NBA Picks: Miami +100Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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