Miami Heat vs. Golden State Warriors for NBA Picks

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 3:17 PM GMT

Miami will conclude their four-game Western swing this evening and hope to finish 3-1 before flying home. Golden State has given a number of uneven performances the last month and would like nothing more than to beat the betting odds and knock of the Heat before what will be a raucous crowd. Should you choose either of these squads for your NBA picks, keeping reading and make your own determination.

Miami Should Find Motivation

Head coach Erik Spoelstra has a difficult balancing act to perform, trying to motivate a veteran team with two rings in the last two years to give sufficient effort to win basketball games without trying to pressure them too much and lose believability.

Since Jan. 9, Miami is just 9-6 (6-9 ATS) and has played as motivated as worker’s finishing up at their place of employment who is going out of business in the next week. 

The Heat trail Indiana in the East by three games in the loss column and catching them while possible, seems like a long shot, though they will have two more chances at the Pacers later in the season. 

Besides this being the dull part of the campaign for LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh and their teammates, this will be Miami’s 11th road contest in their last 16 outings which also matters, taking their opponents best shots.

Because Oracle Arena can be one of the loudest buildings in the league, Golden State has earned the respect of NBA basketball handicappers. However, like the first game of this road trip in Los Angeles against the Clippers, James and company came to play and won 116-112 as 1.5-point favorites. With the Warriors averaging over 24 three-pointers a game, Miami is 35-20 ATS on the road versus opposing teams who hoist 18 or more treys. 

Miami not as dominant to this point

Since the Big 3 was assembled in south Florida, this has been Miami’s average margin of victory in the regular season and overall ranking. 

2010-11 - +7.5 (1st)

2011-12 - +6.0 (4th)

2012-13 - +7.9 (2nd)

This season, the Heat are down to +5.2 and fifth overall in the Association. This is noteworthy to those following the NBA odds because of how brutally awful the Eastern Conference is, one would think Spoelstra’s squad would be ranked higher in this category. But Miami is ranked 22nd in field goal percentage defense at 46.0 percent, hanging around with many of the feeble in the NBA has cut into their previous dominance. 

Is Golden State Underachieving? 

The Warriors are 31-21 (24-27-1 ATS) this season, which is certainly not a poor record, but is below most people expectations. Golden State is on target to win 47 games, which is below the 50 to 55 wins most thought they would or should achieve this season. 

Currently the negative attention is focused on third-year coach Mark Jackson. The criticism is he’s too much of a defensive coach, limiting the offensive weapons he has. When players are slumping, he does not cut playing time, instead, believing they will snap out of their funk and start reaching their potential.

Since falling at Brooklyn on Jan. 8, Golden State is merely 7-8 and has beaten the oddsmakers only five times.

However, a closer examination of this roster proves it has flaws. The two most productive players off the bench from last year were Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry; both are wearing different uniforms this season.

While Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson are talented players, each has offensive limitations and cannot be counted on to deliver nightly. 

Coach Jackson does not have a dominant low-post presence or players who are skilled at getting to the rim, which is vital when the outside shots are not falling. To this point, Andre Iguodala has not been a fit coming from Denver and besides Stephen Curry, reliable ball-handlers are lacking.

Think about this when making sports picks, are the Warriors really underachieving or is their roster lacking the right mix of cohesive players?

[gameodds]5/255457/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Betting Odds 

Sportsbooks early today posted Golden State as 1.5-point favorite with a total of 205. Almost immediately the game went to a Pick. Please check about Wade’s availability concerning the side and total. If the Warriors end up being favored at game time, this will be the first time Golden State will be favored in eight contests in this series. 

Scheduling 

After the break, Miami has road games at Dallas and Oklahoma City before opening up a home stand.

Golden State will start the second half with four road games out of six encounters.

Head to Head Meetings 

Golden State has won and covered three of the past four meetings. The total has been evenly split in that time, however is 5-2 OVER dating back to Jan. 2010. 

The Choice 

If Miami can win on the road at Phoenix without D-Wade, after starting the game down 12-0, I’ll take my chances with the Heat tonight. 

NBA Free Pick – Miami covers