NBA Picks: Heat vs. Pacers

Jeff Grant

Friday, February 1, 2013 12:11 PM GMT

The Indiana Pacers will be looking for their third consecutive regular-season victory against the Miami Heat Friday night, which would be their longest such winning streak since a 12-game streak from 2002-05.


Let’s take a look at the current NBA odds for this Eastern Conference affair on ESPN. 

Starting to play better 

Miami has won five of its last six games, including a 105-85 victory over the Brooklyn Nets as 2.5-point road favorites Wednesday night, while going UNDER the total for the first time in three contests. The Heat are still just 10-9 straight up against teams with a winning record—leading to a disappointing 8-11 against-the-spread (ATS) record in that situation.

Taking care of business

Indiana has played just three of its last 10 games at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, as it captured a 98-79 victory over the Detroit Pistons as 8.5-point home favorites last time out, while going UNDER the posted total of 180.5. The Pacers certainly have an opportunity to improve their standing heading into the Eastern Conference playoffs, considering they’ll play 21 of their final 36 games at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.

It’s important to note with just four more wins, the franchise will extend its streak of seasons with a winning home record to 24 in a row. Indiana enters this marquee affair with a 17-3 overall record at this venue, which includes a 9-1 mark versus conference foes.

90 is the key number 

Basketball bettors shouldn’t even think about adding the Heat to their NBA picks Friday night—unless they feel certain that they’ll score 90 or more points. Miami is 0-5 this season when failing to hit that important mark, as it prepares to face a defensive unit that allows just 86.8 points per game at home. 

In the first regular-season meeting during the current campaign, Miami dropped an 87-77 decision to Indiana as two-point road favorites, which served as the only time the team has been held below 84 points.

Cleaning the glass

One of the biggest angles NBA handicappers need to focus on in this matchup is the battle of the boards, as Indiana leads all teams in averaging 45.8 rebounds per game, which was on full display in grabbing a season-high 22 offensive boards in its first meeting with Miami. Friday night’s visitor ranks dead last in this particular category.

[gameodds]5/194555/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction 

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Indiana Pacers as one of their sports picks, as they’ve covered the spread in both of their opportunities as home underdogs of three points or less this year, with each falling short of the betting total. The Heat will fall to 1-5 SUATS when laying three points or less on the road during the 2012-13 pro basketball season.

NBA Pick: Indiana Pacers +3