NBA Playoffs Picks: Take Heat -4.5 In Game 2 Against Hornets

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 7:30 PM UTC

Tuesday, Apr. 19, 2016 7:30 PM UTC

The Miami Heat stomped a mudhole in the Charlotte Hornets last Sunday. Yet the NBA odds are starting to move toward Charlotte for Game 2 Wednesday night.

<p style="text-align:center"><iframe allowfullscreen frameborder="0" height="330" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><em><strong>Jason's 2015-16 record as of April 19:</strong></em><em> 34-38-1 ATS, 6-3-1 Total</em></p> <p>Well, that didn't go according to plan. We had the Charlotte Hornets as 4.5-point road dogs for <a href="" target="_blank" title="Revisit our NBA pick from Game 1 of this series">Game 1</a> of their <a href="" target="_blank" title="Cavaliers Favored To Win Eastern Conference Title">Eastern Conference</a> first-round matchup with the Miami Heat. Not a very difficult pick to make, either. Final score: Miami 123, Charlotte 91. Holy doodle. Luol Deng scored 31 points for the Heat, while Hassan Whiteside put up 21 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in just 26 minutes.</p> <p>Is this enough to make us change our minds and put the Heat in our <a href="" target="_blank" title="Click here for more NBA picks">NBA picks</a> for Game 2 this Wednesday (7:00 p.m. ET, NBA-TV)? Well... Miami is still favored by 4.5 points as we go to press, <a href="" target="_blank" title="Compare all odds on offer for this game">but that's down from –5 at the open</a>. Our consensus reports show 87 percent of first responders grabbing the Hornets. Maybe the sharp pick is still the sharp pick.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Domination Nation</strong><br /> The infamous zigzag theory definitely wants you to take the Hornets. Miami happened to shoot 9-of-18 from downtown in Game 1, while Charlotte was a more pedestrian 6-of-17. Both teams are likely to regress toward the mean in Game 2; the Hornets (36.2 percent) were seventh in the league from long range this year, while the Heat (33.6 percent) ranked No. 27.</p> <p>Then again, it's probably going to take more than that for Charlotte to turn the tables Wednesday. The Heat absolutely dominated Game 1 in just about every aspect, including rebounding (42-28), assists (27-11) and turnovers (6-11). This wasn't the same as the opener in the Raptors-Pacers series, where Toronto shot poorly and lost by 10, <a href="" target="_blank" title="Revisit our winning NBA pick from Game 2 between the Pacers and Raptors">only to bounce back</a> and win by 11 in Game 2, at roughly the same <a href="" target="_blank" title="Live NBA odds board">NBA odds</a>.</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></p> <p><strong>The Rhythm Of The Heat</strong><br /> The tricky thing about evaluating the Heat is how much they've changed their shape over the course of the year. The starting lineup we saw in Game 1 only played together for about 80 minutes during the regular season. Joe Johnson (15.2 PER, +0.8 BPM) joined the team in late February, and Whiteside (25.7 PER, +2.5 BPM) was reinserted into the starting five on April 10 after nearly three months of bench duty.</p> <p>Ah, Hassan Whiteside. Not only has he proven last year wasn't a fluke, Whiteside actually improved this year on defense, posting a league-best 95 Defensive Rating (roughly 95 points allowed per 100 possessions) at Basketball-Reference. His offense has also improved, although it's still below average at –0.9 OBPM. You know what: Screw the zigzag, we're switching sides and recommending the Heat for Wednesday. This hasn't picked up a lot of publicity, but Hornets PG Kemba Walker (20.8 PER, +4.0 BPM) tweaked his knee in the series opener. Asking him to carry this team on his back in Game 2 might be a bit too much.</p> <p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3011085, "sportsbooksIds":[93,1096,169,999996,180,139], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]<br /> <strong>Free NBA Pick:</strong> Heat –4.5 (–105)<br /> <strong>Best Line Offered:</strong> <a href=";book=Heritage" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Place your bets at Heritage">at Heritage</a></p>
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