NBA Picks: Heat Will Sear Through Odds & Continue Spree vs. Hornets

Friday, April 22, 2016 6:22 PM GMT

The Miami Heat appear to be overwhelming the Charlotte Hornets. However, the NBA odds for Saturday's critical Game 3 are on Charlotte's side.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of April 22: 36-38-1 ATS, 6-3-1 Total

Miami Heats vs. Charlotte Hornets
If playoff basketball is all about making adjustments, then we're in playoff mode here at the ranch. We dropped the Charlotte Hornets like a hot potato after they got julienned by the Miami Heat in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal. Sure enough, the Heat also won Game 2 on Wednesday, 115-103 as 5-point home faves. It's simply a bad matchup for Charlotte, even if the betting value was theoretically on their side heading into the postseason.

 

Things just got even worse for the Hornets: Nicolas Batum will reportedly miss Saturday's Game 3 (5:30 p.m. ET, TNT) with a strained left foot. This really puts Charlotte behind the 8-ball. Yet the NBA odds still see this contest as a fairly close one, with the Hornets laying two points at home. That's down from –2.5 at the open, though, with our consensus reports showing 58 percent of early bettors on Miami.

 

A Tall Cup of Joe
Batum (15.6 PER, +2.0 BPM) was one of the big reasons Charlotte was able to make it into the playoffs in the first place. He's given them solid two-way play since arriving in that offseason trade with the Portland Trail Blazers. And at 6-foot-8, Batum is the biggest guy Charlotte has available on the wing. His minutes will probably be soaked up by 6-foot-3 Jeremy Lin (13.8 PER, –1.1 BPM) and 6-foot-5 Jeremy Lamb (15.9 PER, –0.5 BPM).

Not that Lin and Lamb are bad players, but the Hornets are already having trouble dealing with Miami's size. Joe Johnson (15.2 PER, +0.8 BPM) has been giving them fits on the wing at 6-foot-7. Charlotte head coach Steve Clifford has admitted as much, pointing at the synergy between Johnson and Dwyane Wade (20.3 PER, +0.8 BPM), who has 44 points and 15 assists after two games. “They're seeing over us,” Clifford told reporters after witnessing one too many cross-court passes.

 

Hassan Remains the Same
Then you have our main man Hassan Whiteside (25.7 PER, +2.5 BPM). His offense still has plenty of room to grow, but Whiteside was a perfect 8-for-8 from the floor in Game 2, adding a free throw to finish with 17 points, 13 rebounds and a pair of blocks in 30 minutes of work. If Whiteside is scoring on the regular, there's little hope for the Hornets in this series.

While we're at it, let's give some props to the much-improved Josh Richardson (11.4 PER, +0.6 BPM) at shooting guard. Miami's bench was looking pretty ragged earlier this year, and Richardson was struggling in his rookie campaign, but he went from posting a minus-16.0 before the All-Star break to a plus-8.2 afterward. Oh, and he's 6-foot-6. We'll put some more Heat in our NBA picks, thank you kindly.

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Free NBA Pick: Miami +2 (–105)
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker