Brooklyn Nets (+315) vs. Miami
The Nets expended a lot of energy in trying to beat the Raptors, despite tanking some in the final week of the season to get to them. We can only guess what a Bulls vs. Nets series would have actually been like in the first round, but it looks like the Nets might have shot themselves in the foot before the playoffs started.
Now they play the Heat in the second round, and even though the Nets famously beat the Heat four times this year both SU and ATS, those games were very close. The point differential of those games at the end of regulation were all either just one point or zero, that’s how close that regular season series was.
Plus, as we have seen time and again with not only the Heat but other good teams as well, but the regular season is far from the postseason. The Nets played the Heat well and their four wins against them this season cannot be overlooked, but I’m having a strange case of déjà vu with this Nets vs. Heat series.
A few years ago when the Bulls and Heat faced off against one another in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bulls dominated the Heat during the regular season. It was the lockout-shortened season, so they only played twice, but the Bulls won both games rather easily. However when they finally got to meet up in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bulls were beaten easily in five games. The Heat looked completely different in that series than they did in the regular season, and the Bulls were not ready.
Now, this season is different that the lockout season was. The Heat were VERY motivated in those playoffs after losing to the Mavs in the Finals the season before and almost losing the entire 2010-2011 season due to the lockout. Fast-forward to 2014, and the Heat are worn down and Dwyane Wade is far from where he was three seasons ago. However in my opinion, this Nets team is not anywhere close to what that Bulls team was with Derrick Rose and company in the 2011 playoffs.
The Sharp Pick
The sportsbooks have the NBA Odds largely in favor of Miami in this series, and there is nothing that could make me bet the Nets here. I don’t think they will win more than one game against the Heat in this series, and even though there is a large amount of chalk surrounding the Heat’s odds right now, Miami is the smartest option for our NBA picks with these odds at BetOnline.
As long as Wade doesn’t injure himself in this series, the Heat are too fast and too good on defense for the Nets to exploit them in a seven game series. Without Lopez, the Nets are not going to be able to best the Heat in the playoffs. If Lopez was healthy, it might be another story, however with the current situation, even though the Heat are vulnerable, no one in the East is going to beat them.My Pick: Heat -375