NBA Picks: Heat vs. Jazz

Joe Catalano

Monday, January 14, 2013 3:08 PM GMT

After a sound beating of the lowly Sacramento Kings, the Eastern Conference leading Miami Heat must now face a budding Utah Jazz squad. Find out which team we are backing with our NBA picks tonight.

Tip-off is scheduled for Monday at 9:00 pm ET at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Most NBA odds boards currently list the Heat as a 2.5 point betting favorite and the total for the game is 197.

Even a good college basketball team could beat the Sacramento Kings, but Utah will need to put forth their best effort to come away with the “W” in a place where they tend to perform well, Energy Solutions Arena. Is this squad up for the task of taking on the ‘Big 3’? Let’s break down this matchup and decide where the best value lies for our sports picks tonight.

[gameodds]5/134185/43/us[/gameodds]

The Foye Factor

In their last two games, the Jazz are beginning to form their own ‘Big 3’ so to speak. Veteran guard Randy Foye has decided to look for his shot lately, and he’s been effective. Not only is Utah coming off of a big 90-87 victory on the road against the Detroit Pistons, but Randy Foye could be that missing ingredient that the Jazz have been looking for to aid team leaders, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap.

In his last 2 games, Foye is averaging 21 points and 2 steals while shooting 9 of 12 from 3 point range. If Foye can play well against the 5th ranked offense in the league in the Miami Heat, he’ll give the Jazz a legitimate chance to pull off the minor upset.

Beast Mode

This seems to be the new catch phrase in the NBA for a player that’s on a tear. At the moment Al Jefferson is in beast mode.

Aside from leading the Jazz offensively, Jefferson has had the hot hand lately, putting up 20-10 games in 3 out of his last 4 games while shooting well over 50% from the field. Jefferson has shown dominance on the inside with his 290 pound frame, but he’ll be hard pressed to contain Chris Bosh defensively if Bosh is in the zone. Look for Jefferson to have another effective outing despite the opponent being the Miami Heat.

Super Mario

The second that I saw the Kings on the Heat’s schedule, I knew that Miami would dominate. An opponent such as the Kings enables Lebron James and Dwayne Wade to get a rest while secondary starters like Mario Chalmers can get some time to lead the floor.

The game was a 29 point blowout, and Chalmers took advantage of his moment to shine. He was a sizzling 10 of 13 from 3 point range and had 34 points in total. It’s difficult to be a star on Heat team that’s led by the “Big 3”, but Chalmers occasionally is capable of coming up with a big offensive game.

Thus far, Mike Miller has had a very disappointing season , but getting  “PT” in the Kings game, allowed him to break out of his shell, scoring 12 points on 4 of 8 shooting from 3 point range. The combination of Miller and Ray Allen will be an important one as we get closer to the 2nd half of the season and near the playoffs.

The only team that can beat the Miami Heat when playing well is possibly the Oklahoma Thunder or the Heat, themselves. Look for another typical night where Lebron James controls the action. Utah can’t stop the best basketball player on the planet.

Outcome

Look for the Jazz to put up a fight at home, but in the end, the Miami Heat are too good of a team to defeat. 2.5 points aren’t a lot. Look for the Heat to cover. 

NBA Picks: Miami -2.5