NBA Picks: Where's The Betting Edge On Hornets vs. Heat Game 1?

Sunday, April 17, 2016 12:00 PM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 17, 2016 12:00 PM UTC

They had identical regular-season records, but the NBA odds are giving the Miami Heat a little more love for Sunday's series opener against the Charlotte Hornets, so which is the right NBA Pick?

<p style="text-align:center"><iframe allowfullscreen frameborder="0" height="330" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p> </p> <p><em><strong>Jason's 2015-16 record as of April 16:</strong></em><em> 33-37-1 ATS, 6-3-1 Total</em><br />  </p> <p>The NBA's Southeast Division turned out to be pretty good this year. Only one team (the 35-47 Orlando Magic) had a losing record; three teams tied for the division lead at 48-34, but it was the Miami Heat winning the Southeast title and the No. 3 seed in the East. The Charlotte Hornets had to settle for the No. 6 seed – which I'm sure they won't mind, after going into the 2015-16 campaign tied for last at +25000 on Bovada's NBA championship futures market.<br /> <br /> The betting market might still be overlooking the Hornets. <a href="">We've already picked them</a> at a series price of +125, and it's very likely Charlotte will be our recommendation for Game 1 against the Heat this Sunday (5:30 p.m. ET, TNT). But are we already too late to the party? The Hornets are 4-point road dogs on the <a href="">NBA odds</a> board as we go to press, down from +4.5 at the open.</p> <p style="text-align:center"><iframe frameborder="0" height="75" id="ab0d08a1" name="ab0d08a1" scrolling="no" src=";cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE" style="text-align:center" width="646"></iframe><br />  </p> <p><strong>Bosh Spice</strong><br /> Well, if we give Miami (43-38-1 ATS) the requisite 3.5 points for home-court advantage, and if these two clubs are as equal as their records indicate, maybe there's still some value on Charlotte (42-39-1 ATS) for Sunday's series opener. Hoopheads, assemble~!<br /> <br /> <strong>FiveThirtyEight (CARM-Elo):</strong> Miami –3<br /> <strong>Basketball-Reference (SRS):</strong> Miami –2.64<br /> <br /> How do you like them apples? Our usual gang of stat nerds thinks the Hornets performed better than Miami during the <a href="" target="_blank" title="NBA Season &amp; Futures Odds">regular season</a>. On top of that, let's not forget the Heat are without Chris Bosh (20.2 PER, +2.1 BPM), who reportedly may have told the team he won't be available for the playoffs, and Tyler Johnson (13.8 PER, +0.5 BPM), who could be ready for the second round if his shoulder heals in time – and Miami makes it that far.<br /> <br />  </p> <p><strong>Dance With Joe</strong><br /> Then again, these projections won't capture how useful Joe Johnson (15.2 PER, +0.8 BPM) has been to Miami since he secured his buyout from the Brooklyn Nets and signed up in late February. The Joe-fueled version of the Heat we'll see on Sunday is 16-8 SU and 13-11 ATS. Definitely playoff-worthy.<br /> <br /> Ah, but that included a 109-106 loss to the Hornets on March 17 as 4.5-point home faves. Charlotte has been an absolute wrecking ball during the second half of the season, sporting an 18-6 SU and 13-11 ATS record since the beginning of March. And it does look like Nicolas Batum (15.6 PER, +2.0 BPM) will be available Sunday after missing some time down the stretch with a sprained left ankle. This is a very deep team with a lot of unsung talent supporting their one true All-Star, point guard Kemba Walker (20.8 PER, +4.0 BPM). Miami has the bigger names and the championship pedigree, but once the bench players come out for both clubs, Charlotte's advantage should be enough to make the Hornets the right <a href="">NBA pick</a> for Game 1.<br /> <br /> [/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3011067, "sportsbooksIds":[93,1096,169,999996,180,139], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]<br /> <strong>Free NBA Pick:</strong> Hornets +4.5 -105<br /> <strong>Best Line Offered:</strong> at GT Bets</p>
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