NBA Picks: Strong Heat vs. Hornets Defense Will Lead To A Low Scoring Affair

Jason Lake

Friday, April 29, 2016 3:34 PM GMT

Friday, Apr. 29, 2016 3:34 PM GMT

The UNDER was the right NBA pick in each of the last three games between the Charlotte Hornets and the Miami Heat. Will Friday's Game 6 be any different?

Jason's 2015-16 record as of April 28: 36-40-1 ATS, 9-4-1 Total

You have to hand it to the Charlotte Hornets. They could have folded their tents after getting completely outplayed by the Miami Heat in the first two games of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal. Instead, the Hornets switched up their starting rotation, the Heat cooled off, and now it's Charlotte taking a 3-2 series lead into Friday's Game 6 (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN) at the Hive.

As for our NBA picks here at the home office, we bailed on the point spread with this series and started pounding the UNDER. So far, so good: Each of the last three games sailed below the posted total. Should we dial it up again? They've dropped the total yet again on our NBA odds boards, all the way to 191 points as we go to press. Hmmm. Well, there's always the Hornets as 1.5-point home faves – or maybe it's time to switch sides again.

 

Grab Some Bench
Wednesday's Game 5 saw Charlotte cash in as a 6-point road dog, coming from behind in the fourth to beat Miami 90-88. Once again, it was the Hornets bench that got the job done; Nicolas Batum (15.6 PER, +2.0 BPM) returned to action after missing the previous two games with a strained left foot, and posted a plus-2 in 25 minutes in relief. All four of Charlotte's reserves finished in plus territory on the day.

If only the Heat had some more depth to work with. Wait, what's that? That's Tyler Johnson's music~! Johnson (13.8 PER, +0.5 BPM) was enjoying a breakout sophomore campaign for Miami before undergoing surgery on his left rotator cuff in early February. He was available for emergency duty in Game 5, so Johnson could be part of the picture for Game 6.

 

Let's Get Into Physical
Could be. There have been a lot of question marks in this series about which players may or may not be healthy, and across the NBA, the “physicality” of playoff basketball appears to be too much for the officials to handle on a consistent basis. The UNDER is 26-12 in postseason play going into Thursday's action. We'd be inclined to stick with that pick.

But what about these incredible shrinking totals? The opening lines have gotten smaller for every single game thus far, although bettors jumped on the OVER in Game 5 and drove the total from 193 to 195.5. This time, our early consensus reports show 56 percent of bettors taking the UNDER, with the total dipping from 192.5 points at the open. We're going to keep hammering this pick here at the ranch, but you might want to wait until closer to game time, just in case the betting public comes in again and bumps that total up a point or two. Every half-point counts.

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Free NBA Pick: UNDER 191.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage 

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