NBA Betting: Feeling The Heat Or Worrying About Hornet's Sting?

Jason Lake

Monday, April 25, 2016 4:59 PM GMT

Something strange happened on Saturday: the Hornets beat the Heat. Now the NBA odds for Game 4 are on hold while we wait for news on Hassan Whiteside.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of April 24: 36-40-1 ATS, 7-3-1 Total

 

Everything just went pear-shaped for the Miami Heat. They seemed to have their Eastern Conference quarterfinal with the Charlotte Hornets well in hand, taking a 2-1 series lead into Saturday's Game 4 at the Hive. Final score: Charlotte 96, Miami 80. Wait, what? Despite the size mismatch against Miami, and despite both teams shooting poorly, Charlotte easily covered the spread as 3-point home faves.


Which brings us to Monday's Game 4 (7:00 p.m. ET, NBA-TV), and an even bigger problem for the Heat: Hassan Whiteside is expected to be a game-time decision after missing Sunday's practice with a sore thigh. It seems highly unlikely Whiteside will sit out Monday night, but it's problematic enough that the NBA odds for this contest are on hold as we go to press. And it's already lunchtime on game day.

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Get Well Soon, Chris
At least people are finally starting to understand how important Whiteside (25.7 PER, +2.5 BPM) is to the Heat. He hasn't always been a good fit in the offense; earlier this year, he was taken out of the starting lineup, only to be put back in toward the end of the regular season. But what would have happened to Miami on Saturday without the 13 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks Whiteside provided?


Well, we probably would have seen a lot more of power forwards Amar'e Stoudemire (17.3 PER, –0.4 BPM) and Josh McRoberts (9.9 PER, –1.4 BPM). Strangely enough, both of those players have turned into defensive specialists in Miami, but in McRoberts' case, it's because he can't seem to hit the 3-pointer anymore (24.5 percent this year).

The Heat have proven they can win with a stretch-4 playing center. However, that stretch-4 was Chris Bosh (20.2 PER, +2.1 BPM), and it doesn't look like he'll be walking through that door anytime soon.


 

Games With Frank
Meanwhile, the Hornets are expected to be without Nicolas Batum (15.6 PER, +2.0 BPM) for the second straight game, as he recovers from a strained left foot. Charlotte responded in Game 4 by going big with Frank Kaminsky (12.4 PER, –1.2 BPM) and Al Jefferson (18.2 PER, –1.1 BPM) in the starting lineup. It worked in the sense that Charlotte won, but again, neither team shot well in this game. A “normal” performance from the Heat in Game 5 should correct things.


But we still don't know the odds, and the way things have been going in the playoffs, we're content to recommend blindly auto-betting the 'Under' until further noticeon the NBA picks.

It's not like we expect the Heat to suddenly light it up again the way they were in the first two games, which went 'Over' the posted total by healthy margins. But there's plenty of room for Miami to improve and still cash in the 'Under'.

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Free NBA Pick: 'Under' 195.5 (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Bovada