Miami Heat (24-8 SU, 14-18 ATS)
The Heat melted under the uber-tempo pace of the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night as Miami allowed the most points in a non-overtime game at home since the Big Three united over three seasons ago. Installed as five-point home chalk in NBA odds after coming off a four-game Western road swing, Miami could not match the Warriors frenetic pace and sizzling shooting. When the final buzzer sounded Miami had dropped only their third home game of the season. Final score, Golden State 123 - Miami 114.
Miami is pretty much where everyone predicted they would be at this juncture of the season. They are an athletically gifted team that can run most opponents off the floor. Their 104.8 points per game average places them 6th in the league while their defense has allowed only 98.3 PPG which is good for 9th amongst all teams. While that paints a very bright and accurate portrait of what this club is all about it should also be noted that this team struggles on the glass. Their 36.1 rebounds per game is dead last in the NBA and that may be the only chink in the armor for LeBron and company this season.
Orlando Magic (10-22 SU, 15-17 ATS)
Unfortunately not much has changed for the Magic this season versus last when they were dead last in wins with the only silver lining being a high lottery draft pick. It appears as though the Men of Mickey are headed in that direction yet again as they are on pace to secure an identical 20 wins this season.
After consecutive straight up wins and covers in NBA odds over Detroit and Atlanta the Magic have dropped their last two against the Warriors and Cavaliers. Two steps forward and two steps back is about the best one can hope for with this group. In their last game on Thursday night Orlando snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as they watched a 10 point lead with 1:21 left on the clock bleed away until Cleveland sent the game into overtime. It was then a foregone conclusion that Orlando would bow to their hosts and add another miserable chapter to an already hellacious season.
NBA Free Pick:
Unless something short of a miracle occurs at the Amway Center in Orlando tonight, the Heat will dribble out of the Magic Kingdom with victory number 25 in hand. But the question is, will they be able to cash a ticket when considering the NBA odds in this one?
In their last two visits to Orlando the Heat have won by an average of 21 points. If you consider the fact that they actually shot quite well in their last game, though not nearly as unconscious as the Warriors, and still lost then you can be rest assured they will be loaded for bear tonight. To make matters worse for the Magic, their big man in the middle Nikola Vucevic is injured and may not suit up. That will give the painfully inept rebounding of Miami an edge in that department. And even if Vucevic does make it into uniform it is a certainty that he won't be one hundred percent.
Let's dive right and take the plunge with the Heat in your NBA Picks.
Pick: Take the Heat -9 at Bet365