In what will likely be one of the more lopsided games of the season, the Magic head down south a few hundred miles to play their in-state rival, the Miami Heat.
Could Wade sit?
I’ll preface this statement by saying that I have zero news to back this up and it’s all a hunch, but I think Dwyane Wade might sit out tonight. The Heat really don’t need him to win, and even though they are not on the second end of a back to back, they could elect to give him a long break heading into March. Wade has started to play well though, so it might just be an option given to him, and if that’s the case, most players would want to play.
Miami plays the Bobcats on Monday night, which could end up a first round playoff matchup in the Eastern Conference. That being said, the Heat only have 26 games left to go this season after tonight, so there is still plenty of season left for Wade to gear up for the playoffs if he elects to rest his bulky knees. Even though I really don’t think he will, I still think there is a good chance Wade either sits all together, or only sees 20-28 minutes tonight.
With this and the injury to Aaron Afflalo, that potentially limits or eliminates two of the best scoring options for each team. This makes handicapping the spread very difficult, and it’s why I am laying off this monstrosity, and going with a bet on the total.
The Sharp Pick
At 201, this total seems a bit overvalued. To the naked eye you think about the over being the play. We assume that Miami is going to blow the Magic out mercilessly and score 118 points tonight. However, what would motivate them to put forth that much effort against the Magic? Even though I do think they will win a by a sizeable margin, I don’t think the Heat will want to waste energy on a team they could beat while still half asleep.
The Magic are obviously horrible against their divisional rival SU, however one trend I see sticking out is that the Magic have cashed the under in four of their last five trips to South Beach. In those five games, Orlando is averaging only 89.4 points per game. This matchup could be slower and defensive much like all of the five previous meetings from Miami, and I think it will make the under a nice value NBA pick tonight.
This will be the fourth time these two teams have played one another this season, and Orlando has scored 92, 99 and 94 respectfully. However two of those games were in Orlando, so we have to expect another couple of points less tonight, especially without the services of Afflalo, who is their leading scorer at nearly 20 points per game.
For Miami, the under has cashed in five of their last seven games, and six of their last nine home games as well. The under has also cashed at 18-4 for the Magic in their last 22 road games, which is an insane stretch that not many people have been on, but if you have, congratulations.
My Pick: UNDER 201