Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to January 30 inclusive:
Those confounded Miami Heat. I must have some kind of bias that makes me pick them in questionable situations. I talked myself into following them in Wednesday’s matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder (+4 away), and naturally, they laid a giant egg while losing 112-95 in front of millions of viewers on the Worldwide Leader. Pffft.
It’s important never to judge your sports betting decisions on the results, at least not in the narrow sense of wins and losses. But I did base my pick on the recent play of Greg Oden (15.3 PER) and Michael Beasley (17.2 PER), and as it turned out, they weren’t a factor against Oklahoma City. Now the Heat are 1-4 ATS in their past five games and 6-13 ATS since Dec. 23. And they’re 5-point road favorites on the early NBA lines for Saturday’s game against the New York Knicks, which will also take place on ESPN starting at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.
The Fish that Killed Miami
Things actually looked very good against the Thunder, at least for a while. Miami (32-13 SU, 19-26 ATS) shot out to a 22-4 lead in the first quarter before things started unravelling. Great googly-moogly, did they unravel. The Heat turned the ball over 20 times, they hit just three of their 19 trey attempts, and worst of all, they let Derek Fisher (9.0 PER) score 15 points in 18 minutes. What?!
In the end, Oden didn’t even see the floor on Wednesday, and Beasley only played seven minutes (six points, two rebounds). Oklahoma City won this game by benching Kendrick Perkins after five minutes and out-smallballing the Heat. Maybe Oden wouldn’t have been able to keep up anyway – or maybe he would have had as many dunks as he could produce in 12 minutes or so. We’ll never know.
Carm Evil 9
While the Heat are fumbling their way to a No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Knicks (19-27 SU, 20-26 ATS) have won four games in a row SU and ATS to move within half-a-game of eighth place as we go to press. That’s pretty good considering they were playing like cow flop after losing Amar’e Stoudemire (16.4 PER) and Kenyon Martin (12.2 PER) to injury. But then something good happened: They also lost Andrea Bargnani (14.6 PER).
All right, beating up on Bargs like that isn’t quite fair. His Simple Rating of minus-0.6 is actually tied for third on the Knicks with Tyson Chandler (18.0 PER). But once Bargnani was taken out of the mix, there was nothing left for Carmelo Anthony (25.0 PER) to do but put the team on his back. Anthony scored 62 points against the Charlotte Bobcats, then another 35 points against the Los Angeles Lakers before spreading the ball around a bit more the past couple of games. Every once in a while, we need to be reminded how great a scorer Anthony is.
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Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor
The Knicks have also gotten some of their sandpaper back with the return of Metta World Peace (12.2 PER), who has missed time with sore knees and a stomach virus. But the best thing that happened to them during this winning streak is that they played four teams of questionable quality – Charlotte being the best of them.
New York did beat Miami 102-92 earlier this month as an 8-point home dog in the NBA odds, although that was with a full complement of players. I’m not keen on betting either side in this matchup, but the OVER is 5-0 in New York’s last five games and 5-1 in Miami’s last six, so let’s roll with that.
NBA Pick: Take OVER 201.5 at The Greek