NBA Picks for Heat vs. Jazz

Jason Lake

Saturday, February 8, 2014 5:16 PM GMT

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 5:16 PM GMT

The Utah Jazz just got de-tuned in Dallas. Can they get back home and recover in time to overcome the NBA odds against the unprofitable Miami Heat?

Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to February 6 inclusive:

60-45-1 ATS

14-13 Totals

In case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s the word on our two-time and defending NBA champions: overvalued. The Miami Heat (35-13 SU, 21-27 ATS) have won six of their last seven games, but only at 3-4 ATS, and they also have a bad habit of not paying off for me consistently enough. Thursday was another one of those days. Miami (+1.5) went to The Stapler and beat the Los Angeles Clippers 116-112, and LeBron James painted another one of his masterpieces with 31 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds to help seal the deal. He’s pretty good.

Hard to imagine the Utah Jazz (16-33 SU, 21-25-3 ATS) doing much to stop Miami when these two teams meet Saturday night at the Fallout Shelter. Utah will be playing on zero days of rest after getting crushed 103-81 by the Dallas Mavericks (–9.5 at home) on Friday night. Then again, this is the Heat we’re talking about. They’re 8.5-point favorites on the NBA odds board with a total of 198.

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Big

We get to talk about the Heat a lot in this space, so you’re probably familiar with the drill by now. Coasting on defense – check. Hardly playing Michael Beasley (17.2 PER) – check. He was a DNP-CD against the Clippers. Unpredictable appearances from Greg Oden (18.0 PER) – check. He only played six minutes against L.A., although that’s all he needed to rack up three rebounds and two blocks.

Looking at the bigger picture, we can see that the “smallball” approach just isn’t cutting it for Miami anymore. While Chris Bosh (19.9 PER) is still playing most of his minutes at center alongside James (29.1 PER) at power forward, the advanced stats at 82games suggest that the Heat perform better when Chris Andersen (17.8 PER) is at center. That’s partly because Andersen is coming off the bench, but how sweet would it be to see Bosh used as a stretch-4, with Andersen (and Oden) doing the dirty work down low? Guess we’ll have to wait until the playoffs.

Thirtysomething

Now that we’re halfway into the 2013-14 regular season, we can get some really good info from the NBA betting splits, and go figure, Miami is saving its best basketball for its toughest opponents. The Heat are 10-10 ATS against winning teams and just 11-17 ATS against losing teams. The Jazz definitely fall in the latter bucket. Also, Miami is 7-7 ATS after a loss and 14-20 ATS after a win. Lollygaggers!

Utah’s a young and scrappy team – fourth youngest in the NBA at an average age of 24.8, compared to the league-oldest Heat at 30.8 years old. So playing the second of back-to-back games figures to be less of a problem. Unfortunately, the Jazz are 3-10 SU and 5-8 ATS this year when playing on zero days of rest, so there goes that theory. At least none of their players saw more than 34 minutes against the Mavericks on Friday.

Saturday NBA Picks of the Day

Movin’ On Down

We might have to revisit the whole “young and scrappy” narrative, too. While it’s true that rookie Trey Burke (12.9 PER) is a central component of the future Jazz, his level of play has regressed since the holidays. Meanwhile, Richard Jefferson (12.0 PER) is still starting every game, while John Lucas III (5.5 PER) and Brandon Rush (5.2 PER) have been getting minutes off the bench. This is still a tanking team, folks.

Do I really have to pick a side in this one? Heck, no. There’s always the total, and Utah has gone UNDER in each of the last four games. The UNDER is also 5-1 in Utah’s last six games playing on zero days of rest. Now there’s a narrative I can deal with.

NBA Pick: Take UNDER 198 at BetOnline

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