NBA Picks: Heat vs. Lakers

Jordan Sharp

Thursday, January 17, 2013 1:15 PM GMT

Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 1:15 PM GMT

Tonight's marquee matchup tonight features a struggling Heat team heading into Los Angeles to play a Lakers team that is starting to find its feet. For tonight's free NBA picks we are going to breakdown this matchup and uncover the best betting value on offer.

The NBA Odds for this game favor LA by -2 ½, and the total has been set at a large 206 points. This should be one of the biggest games of the season, both in the TV ratings and with the amount of money being wagered. Let’s take a deeper look at the odds, and see which side of the spread and/or total we want to be on with our NBA picks tonight.

[gameodds]5/134339/43/us[/gameodds]

Heat cooling off

It may just be the middle of January blues, or possibly a slump related to the fact that no one should be able to challenge them, but the Heat are falling apart. The Heat are on a six game road stretch right now, and have already lost three of the first five games.

If Miami continues to struggle on the road, they could easily lose the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Miami is 6-11 ATS on the road this season, and just 8-9 SU when playing away from Miami. These numbers are not reflective of a team looking to win the NBA Title. 

Lakers trending up

If this stretch doesn’t prove that the Lakers need to make a big trade, I don’t know what will. Pau Gasol has missed the Lakers’ last five games, and even though LA has won only two of them, they have looked much better in that stretch. Earl Clark, who has been used about as much as I was before Gasol went down, has taken over at power forward, and has been playing well. 

Now it looks as if Gasol is close to returning, but the question is to what role and for how long. If anyone wants to give the Lakers fair value in return for Gasol, I think they have to take it. Dwight Howard has been playing well as the loan post presence for LA, and when Gasol comes back, it might hurt the Lakers progression. Gasol is slow, and has never fit in Mike D’Antoni’s system. 

Tonight against a Heat team coming off a back to back, the Lakers will utilize their size to wear down Miami, a formula that has been established to beat this team. Howard should have another monster game, something he has done twice since returning from injury, and I expect Metta World Peace to slow down Lebron James some as well. 

The Sharp Pick 

Besides their final meeting from last season, the Heat had covered in seven straight games against the Lakers, including three of those games in LA. However, tonight as the Heat are coming off the back to back, I think the Lakers will be able to take this game as favorites. The Heat have been too inconsistent on the road this season, and I think Howard will be too much for the Heat down low. Miami will be out-rebounded, and LA will get the win and cover

NBA Pick: Lakers -2 ½ 

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