NBA Picks: Back the Clippers vs. Heat

Jason Lake

Thursday, November 20, 2014 1:21 PM GMT

It took them eight games to do it, but the L.A. Clippers have finally beaten the NBA odds. They can make it three out of four when they face the Miami Heat Thursday night, or at least what’s left of the Miami Heat.

Jason’s record as of Nov. 19: 8-6 ATS

Profit: plus-3.43 units
This is exactly the kind of thing we were worried about. The Miami Heat were one of our Top 5 UNDER teams;for the new season, and it wasn’t because we thought they’d be awful without LeBron James. It was because the Heat needed two things to go right this year: One, cohesion with the new lineup. Two, good health.

One out of two isn't good. The Heat have proved they can succeed with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade carrying the load, but Wade has missed three games with a strained left hamstring, and he’s doubtful to play Thursday night (8:00 p.m. ET, TNT) when the Los Angeles Clippers bring their talents to South Beach. Once again, the NBA odds are on hold until we learn more about Wade’s status.

 

My Hammy Vice
We’re going to assume that Wade will indeed sit out on Thursday. Hamstring injuries are notoriously difficult to assess in terms of future games missed; Craig Zumsteg recently posted some stats over at Deadspin showing the range of weeks lost for NFL players with the same injury, and it’s a pretty wide distribution. Missing a month or more is not uncommon.

It’s a shame. Wade (plus-2.9 BPM) has been playing at his customary high level, posting a 23.7 PER with 22.0 points and 7.1 assists per 36 minutes. But he’s no A.C. Green out there. Wade has been an injury risk ever since he joined the league in 2003; at this point, it’s a miracle he can walk. Don’t forget about all those extra playoff games and Team USA appearances Wade’s body has absorbed over the years – including four straight trips to the NBA Finals.

 

Granger Danger
Wade is expected to have some company on Miami’s bench. Luol Deng (plus-0.7 BPM) is doubtful with a sprained wrist that he apparently picked up during Sunday’s 91-84 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Deng didn’t play Monday against the Brooklyn Nets and only put in a partial practice on Wednesday. Josh McRoberts (minus-4.5 BPM in limited action) did get in a full practice, so at least he should be ready to roll after missing three games with a toe blister.

The Heat (6-5 SU and ATS) need all the help they can get. They were on a three-game losing streak before beating the Brooklyn Nets (–8 at home) 95-83 on Monday; Miami was short-handed enough that Danny Granger was inserted directly into the starting lineup for his first game of the season. “Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures,” head coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. Granger played 20 minutes and scored four points on 2-of-5 shooting.

 

Big Bang Baby
In theory, the Clippers (6-4 SU, 2-8 ATS) should be at a freshness disadvantage Thursday night after beating the Orlando Magic (+5 at home) 114-90 on Wednesday. However, after rattling off seven straight ATS losses, the Clips have covered two of their past three, coinciding with the return of Matt Barnes (minus-2.4 BPM) to the starting lineup after briefly switching roles with sixth-man Jamal Crawford (minus-0.6 BPM).

It should be even easier for head coach Doc Rivers to set his rotation now that he has Glen “Big Baby” Davis back in action. Davis played 17 minutes against the Magic on Monday and finished the night at plus-16 in what was a strong overall showing for the Clippers bench. Nobody had to play more than 30 minutes in Orlando. We’re not too concerned about fatigue slowing down the Clips in this matchup, especially against Miami’s reserves; so go for the Clippers as your NBA pick.

Want more? Click here to read our NBA picks of the day.

The Five Stars
Depth/Travel/Rest: LAC
Defense: MIA
Coaching: LAC
Market Bias: MIA
Betting Line Value: ???

Verdict: Minimum bet on LAC

Free NBA Pick: Bet one unit on the Clippers

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