It has been a while since the Miami Heat dropped three straight regular season games, 365 days, to be exact. The streak is not expected to come to an end Saturday night when the South Beach ballers pay the Sacramento Kings a visit.
NBA Odds have yet to be released on the contest due to the unknown status of Kings Center, DeMarcus Cousins, something we'll touch on a bit later. All we know for certain is Miami will be favored, and if Sacramento is without Cousins, the spread may very well be the largest of the evening, an honor that currently belongs to the LA Clippers (-12) hosting Orlando.
Saturday's tilt at Sleep Train Arena marks the middle of Miami's 6-game road trip, a trek that continues with stops at Utah and Golden State before wrapping up at the Lakers in the second half of TNT's Thursday doubleheader next week. Heat fans needn't worry about the team being run down once they're back home; NBA schedule makers have built in almost a week of rest for LeBron James and his pals once the journey is complete.
Not that anyone should feel sorry in the first place for the defending champions, who sit atop the Eastern Conference standings by a game over the slipping New York Knicks. Certainly, Sacramento isn't going to be sympathetic –with the Kings fighting to stay out of the Western Conference basement and possibly headed to Seattle via the auction block.
Kings & Heat Coming Off Thursday Defeats
Miami was in Portland on Thursday with the attention of TNT's cameras and laying 3.5 to the Trail Blazers. All looked well for the Heat who took a 13-point lead into the intermission, thanks to Chris Bosh's 14 points in the first half.
But things began to unravel in the third quarter, and really went south in the final eight minutes of the contest when a 12-point lead evaporated. Portland closed on a 24-10 run for the 92-90 upset. Despite the collapse, Dwyane Wade was quoted after the game that Miami had "played our game," which apparently means performing well for 40 out of 48 minutes.
The loss left the Heat 0-2 to begin this trip, and just 1-3 in their last four. Miami is now just 7-8 away from home, 5-10 against the spread after failing to cover for the fifth consecutive time outside of AmericanAirlines Arena.
Sacramento was also busy blowing a lead in a late-Thursday clash with the Dallas Mavericks, the Kings' third consecutive loss both straight up and against the spread. After Sacramento built a 17-point advantage four minutes into the third quarter, Vince Carter and OJ Mayo helped the Mavs rally and force overtime before grabbing a 117-112 victory as 2.5 point underdogs.
Near the end of OT, Cousins drew his sixth foul of the game –eventually ruled a flagrant 2 by the officiating crew. His forearm to the face of Vince Carter was still under review by the league office Saturday morning, and Cousins could face a fourth suspension this season as a result.
Kings A Boon For Over Bettors While Heat Go Under
Contrasting trends await totals bettors once the numbers do show up on SBR odds. Sacramento followers have seen nine of the last 10 games jump above the total, including the last four. Miami's last four each stayed UNDER the mark, and four of the Heat's last six road tilts have also failed to reach the total.
The teams met only once during the abbreviated 2011-12 campaign, and Miami got the 120-108 home win for its seventh straight in the series. Sacramento did have just enough to cover the 13.5 point spread, snapping a string of six consecutive Heat covers.
Keep your eyes on SBR odds to get the opening spread and total once the Association makes up its mind about Cousins, we'll better know how to handle our NBA betting with this game.
My Free Pick: No play yet, awaiting odds release – to be continued
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