NBA Picks: Mavericks vs. Heat

Joe Catalano

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 3:24 PM GMT

Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 3:24 PM GMT

The Dallas Mavericks (13-19) enter the lion's den tonight when they travel to South Beach to face the Miami Heat (21-8). This isn't the intense matchup of two years ago, as Miami has a decisive edge in this game, but it does possess great value for our NBA picks. Does a less talented Dallas team have any chance against the reigning champions?

Tip-off is scheduled for Wednesday at 7:30 pm ET at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.

The NBA odds makers at 5 Dimes Sportsbook currently lists Miami as a 10.5 point betting favorite and the total for the game is 201.5.

While the Miami squad has basically stayed the same, Dallas has changed personnel, and through injury and age, the team doesn’t stack up to the group we remember from the 2011 NBA Finals.

[gameodds]5/133544/19-1096-43-999996-198-238-93/us[/gameodds]

6 or 7 Rings?

How many rings did LBJ say that he was going to get when he made his decision to come to South Beach? With Dwayne Wade losing a step, James has had to carry the load for the Heat and thus far, he's done a spectacular job. The Heat are 4th in scoring in the NBA at 103 points per game. 

James is coming off of a 36 point, 11, assist, and 8 rebound game in overtime against the Orlando Magic. In this game, Miami was able to overcome a 4th quarter deficit and 20 points and 29 rebounds from center Nikola Vucevic to knock off the Magic in their building and currently lead the New York Knicks by one game in the Eastern Conference. 

Their numbers are the same, but Miami is basically going to get off nights by Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, but as long as Lebron James stays healthy, they'll be a difficult team to defeat come playoff time. 

Boredom? 

One radio announcer has actually said that the Heat get bored during the regular season and lose games to a bottom feeder such as the Washington Wizards and then turn it on in the playoffs. I tend to agree. This only means that when the NBA betting lines list Miami as a double digit favorite, you might want to be careful. 

In tonight’s case, they face a team with a recovering Dirk Nowitzki who is not nearly the offensive machine that he used to be. The Heat should have no problem tonight. 

Easing his way back into the lineup

It's almost difficult to see a player with the reputation of Dirk Nowitzki, playing 17 minutes and scoring 11 points against a team like Washington. It's a possibility that owner Mark Cuban wants to keep Nowitzki healthy so he can make or buy, shall we say, one last run to the NBA Finals. Unless Cuban signs some legitimate young stars in the offseason, this team isn't going anywhere.

Dallas is coming off of a victory over the pathetic Washington Wizards, 103-94, where all 5 starters scored in double figures. When O.J, Mayo, who was a bench player with the Memphis Grizzlies, is your leading scorer, your team has problems.

Look for Dallas to receive strong efforts out of veterans such as Vince Carter and Shawn Marion. That being said, both aging players fail to be consistent and this team can only go so far with them leading the pack. 

More Nowitzki tonight?

I fully expect to see Dirk Nowitzki log more minutes tonight. These two teams have a bit of bad blood between themselves, and I could see Miami trying to run up the score against Dallas at home. Nowitzki has played 5 games since returning from injury, and in 20.8 minutes per game, he's averaged 8.2 points and 4 rebounds. Look for Dirk to have his biggest game of the season if his body enables him to.

Also, look for Shawn Marion to rise to the occasion. Marion has a history against Miami and is coming off of a double-double against Washington.

Outcome

Miami won't be "bored" in this game. They're just too young and talented for the Mavericks to deal with. Look for Lebron James and Dwayne Wade to put on a show as the Heat cover the spread.

NBA Picks: Miami -10.5 at 5Dimes

comment here