Jason’s record on his final NBA picks for 2013, up to November 29 inclusive:
Another day, another victory for the Miami Heat. Fully satiated after a massive Thanksgiving dinner hosted by LeBron James, the Heat (13-3 SU, 9-7 ATS) travelled north of the border and did just enough to cover the NBA point spreads, beating the Toronto Raptors (+6) 90-83. That’s nine wins in a row for Miami at 7-2 ATS. Thank you, drive through.
But should we keep pounding the Heat on Sunday when they return home to face the Charlotte Bobcats (8-9 SU, 9-7-1 ATS)? The Bobcats haven’t played nearly as awfully as we’re used to seeing. However, they’ve also been a perplexing team against the NBA lines at 3-5 SU and 4-4 ATS in their last eight games. What to do?
LBJ Is All Jammed Up
We’ve got one other odd circumstance heading into this matchup: The NBA odds had yet to be released we went to press. James (30.6 PER) picked up a collection of bumps and bruises in Toronto, including a sore back, a gimpy ankle, and jammed fingers. Nobody said playing in the NBA was easy. James is officially listed as day-to-day, and Miami beat writer Ira Winderman speculated via Twitter that the reigning league MVP could sit out Sunday’s contest (6:00 p.m. ET).
The Bobcats also have some concerns about the state of their top small forward. However, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (12.3 PER) was able to practice in full on Saturday despite a nagging case of plantar fasciitis, and is listed as probable to face Miami. Kidd-Gilchrist, the second overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, made the All-Rookie Second Team last year with a 14.0 PER; he’s still scoring 12.5 points per 36 minutes, but virtually all his other stats are down, possibly due to the agony of dee feet. Thank you, try the veal.
UNDER the Bridge
We’ll have to see how the basketball odds shake out with King James uncertain for Sunday, but whatever happens, there’s good reason to consider betting the NBA totals in this matchup. The Heat have the UNDER at 8-8 on the season, but it’s also 6-1 in their last seven games, starting with their 97-81 victory over Charlotte back on Nov. 16. The Bobcats are tied with the Indiana Pacers for the best UNDER record in the NBA at 12-4-1, paying out at 9-0-1 in their last 10 contests.
We’re all familiar with the Heat and the No. 2-ranked offense in the league (108.6 points per 100 possessions, just a shade behind the Houston Rockets at 108.7). But they also have the No. 6-ranked defense at 97.9 points allowed per 100 possessions. None of Miami’s last seven opponents has managed to crack the 100-point mark. Meanwhile, the Bobcats are No. 27 on offense (93.1) and No. 4 on defense (96.9). That’s right: Charlotte’s defense is better than Miami’s right now.
Movin’ on Up
Making fun of the Bobcats under the ownership of Michael Jordan has become so fashionable, it’s easy to forget that this team added another talented player who once made the All-Rookie Second Team. Center Al Jefferson (22.1 PER) is putting up the same solid numbers as always: 19.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.0 blocks per 36 minutes. Jefferson’s been paired with PF Josh McRoberts (15.0 PER), who’s finally getting another crack at starter’s minutes since first showing promise with Indiana (16.0 PER) three seasons ago.
Miami doesn’t have the beefiest frontcourt in the NBA, so Sunday’s matchup should be very interesting indeed – King James or no King James. I’m going to go ahead and recommend the UNDER in the dark. Check our NBA odds page for the latest lines as they become available.NBA Pick: Take the UNDER