The Heat get the favorites tag tonight in the NBA odds, favored by 3 or 3.5 depending on where you look. They are getting most of the love from the public so far.
The total has been locked down at 195.5. The UNDER is 11-4 in Miami's last 15 games overall, but the OVER has gone 15-5-1 in the past 21 head-to-head meetings between the Heat and Trail Blazers.
A rough patch for Miami has seen them lose two of three and four of their last seven, which by their lofty standards would be considered a struggle.
The Heat were held to their lowest point total of the entire season in a 87-77 loss to Indiana two days ago. As normal, Miami was dominated on the glass (55-36) and that ended up being one of the key factors in determining the victor.
Two men can only do so much, as LeBron and Dwyane Wade unfortunately found out. James had 22 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal (but did turn the ball over seven times), while Wade had a game-high 30 points on 9-of-16 shooting paired with five boards and three dimes.
There was absolutely no help from the likes of Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem or the Miami bench. Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Norris Cole, Mike Miller and Joel Anthony combined for just eight points in the loss.
You haven't been a happy camper if you've been staying loyal to the Heat with your sports picks. They're 16-17 ATS on the season but are on a terrible run which has seen them go 1-6 ATS over their last seven.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers have had an extra day of rest following a 125-119 win over Orlando in overtime on Monday. They barely fell short (-6.5) of of covering the NBA betting lines though.
Considering it's a widely accepted fact that Portland has one of the weakest benches in the NBA, it was no surprise to see all five starters log heavy minutes and contribute in a big way. As a team the Trail Blazers shot 51.1 percent from the field.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, J.J. Hickson posted 20 points and 15 rebounds, Wesley Matthews logged 24 points and Damian Lillard (18 points and 10 assists) and Nicolas Batum (16 points and 10 dimes) both had double doubles.
It will take another herculean effort from those five against the defending champs tonight, though the fact the Heat have failed to cash in any of their last four road games is encouraging.
To boot, Portland has been getting it done against the spread for backers. They may not have covered against Orlando the other night, but they're still 4-2 ATS over their previous six contests.
The OVER has hit in five straight games between these teams, including this season's earlier matchup which ended in a 107-93 Miami win.
And while a majority of NBA bettors are adding the Heat to their NBA picks, we feel more comfortable with a play on the OVER.
Efficiency statistics have emerged as a reliable tool to help us in our efforts to make the best possible choices. The Heat are tied for #13 in defensive efficiency, while the Trail Blazers are all the way down at #24, having allowed 104.6 points per 100 possessions this season.
With both teams also in the bottom half of the league in points allowed, we expect the OVER to come through once again.
NBA Pick: OVER 195.5 at 5Dimes