NBA Picks: Look For Heat & Pacers To Keep Scores 'Under' 195.5

Jason Lake

Friday, December 11, 2015 1:37 PM GMT

Friday, Dec. 11, 2015 1:37 PM GMT

Something's not working right with the Miami Heat. They're struggling against the NBA odds, and they'll have their hands full Friday night with the Indiana Pacers.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Dec. 9: 8-10 ATS, 2-1 Total

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Free NBA Pick: Take UNDER 195.5
Best Odds Offered By BetOnline

 

Who likes puzzles? We've got a good one for you: the Miami Heat. They've got All-Stars, promising young talent, veteran leadership, savvy coaching, a respected front office – and they're in third place in the Southwest Division at 12-8 (9-11 ATS). Didn't the Heat get the memo? They're supposed to make money hand over fist this year.

Like the Indiana Pacers are doing. They're also 12-8 after six weeks of basketball, but the Pacers are scooping up the cash at 12-8 ATS. Or at least they were scooping up the cash; Indiana has dropped three straight SU and ATS going into Friday's matchup (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN) with Miami. The Pacers have opened as 3-point home faves on our NBA odds board with a total of 195.5.

 

How Much Can You Bench?
Let's pump the brakes on this game for a moment. The last time we checked in on the Heat, they were hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers, and we recommended you put the UNDER in your NBA picks. Easy decision with the UNDER at 14-3 for Miami. The basketball gods made it even easier for us; LeBron James sat out for Cleveland, and the Heat won 99-84 (UNDER 188.5).

The Heat have split a pair of totals since then, so the UNDER is now 16-4 for Miami after 20 games. This is something that could go on for a while. The Heat rank second in the NBA in defensive efficiency (96.4) and No. 17 in offensive efficiency (101.3). When the season began, we were effusive about Miami's bench strength, but check out these advanced stats as per Basketball-Reference:

Justise Winslow 6.6 PER, –3.0 OBPM
Gerald Green 8.3 PER, –2.4 OBPM
Josh McRoberts 9.8 PER, –1.7 OBPM

Yikes. Factor in how starting point guard Goran Dragic (13.1 PER, –0.1 OBPM) has struggled to carve out his role, and how center Hassan Whiteside (24.7 PER, –2.7 OBPM) provides most of his considerable value at the defensive end, and presto, the UNDER is the new King of South Beach. For now, at least.

 

Indiana Pace
The Pacers have a different look this year, too, but it's leading to more OVER results at 11-9. Thanks to their “smallball” lineup with 6-foot-9 Paul George (26.4 PER, +7.2 OBPM) at power forward, Indiana is running the No. 9-ranked pace in the NBA at 100.1 possessions per game, well above Miami's glacial 96.0 possessions (No. 26 overall).

Perhaps the Heat can put some restrictor plates on that Pacers offense. Back on Nov. 6, the two teams played in Miami, and the Heat won 90-87 (UNDER 195) in a game that B-R assigned a Pace Factor of 90.2. We're going to stick with the game plan for now; as long as Miami is playing the way it is, and the market hasn't caught up, why go changing things?

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