NBA Picks for Heat vs. Lakers

Jordan Sharp

Wednesday, December 25, 2013 7:57 PM GMT

Santa has brought us a multitude of NBA good cheer this holiday season, as five games line the Christmas Day NBA schedule.

One of those games happens to be the Lakers playing host to the two-time defending champs, and the NBA Odds have the Heat as big -9 road favorites, but I am more interested in the total, which currently sits at 206 ½. Even though this is an early afternoon game in LA, there are multiple injury concerns, and I think the total has some great value this Christmas.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":251220, "sportsbooksIds":[43], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

Miami scoring onslaught

Much like great armies of the middle ages, the Heat may take losses, but they continue to dissect the opposition one way or another. As the Heat run through the NBA, bettors have been able to take advantage. The Heat may be overvalued some in certain spreads, but the total for this one is too low for a Heat team this hot, and going up against one of the league’s worst defenses.

The Heat have cashed the over in five games in a row, which has taken them to 17-10 this season cashing the over. At just under 207 points, the Heat are almost surely going to have north of 105 points once this game is over, and it all boils down the Lakers’ offense then. Although that is a unit that has seen better days, they still have Pau Gasol, and they still have the x-factor on their side; the three-point shot.

Lakers’ downtown ambitions

Without a true point guard, the Lakers are going to need to knock down shots more than ever, especially against a solid defensive team like the Heat. Even though Miami can turn their defense up to 11, I doubt they unleash it too much in this game. Against a banged up Lakers team, things shouldn’t be too hard today.

For the Lakers, they will have to improve on their shooting. The Lakers are a combined 10-40 in their last two games from beyond the three-point line, and if they can hit another three or four in a game today, they should have little problems at least staying within striking distance of Miami.

The Sharp Pick

Gasol will likely have his mark on this game felt, even if the Lakers stay competitive, and I expect his scoring to help lift off some pressure from the Lakers’ three point shooters. With the Heat in such a scoring frenzy recently, look for the Lakers to have to shoot a bunch of threes to keep up, and against the Heat three point defense, it’s extremely possible.

Teams are shooting around 37% from three point land against Miami this season, and only three or four teams are giving up more three point attempts or makes. If the Lakers hit ten threes here, not only will they stay competitive, but they will help us carve out a nice chunk of profit on an over bet. LA’s defense is going to be the breadwinner however. In their last game against the Suns, the Lakers gave up 117 points and over a third of those points came from the three-point line. Add to the fact that the Suns shot 25 free throws, and you have the recipe for my play on this one. Take the over for your free Christmas NBA pick.

NBA Pick: OVER 206 ½