NBA Eastern Conference Betting Preview: Miami Heat at Charlotte Bobcats
Betting odds courtesy of Bovada
The Miami Heat ended its three-game skid last night (Friday) in Philadelphia, soundly defeating the Sixers 101-86. Tonight, the Heat will travel to Charlotte to face the 17-24 Bobcats. NBA oddsmakers at Bovada set the line 6.5-points in favor of the visiting Heat.
Chris Bosh came through big in the victory over Philly, contributing a well-rounded line of 25 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and five blocks. Though Bosh isn’t exactly known as a rim protector, the shot blocking is an added boon for the Heat, particularly so with Chris Andersen on the shelf and Joel Anthony dealt.
Dwyane Wade has been a primary reason for Miami’s struggles recently, and the guard was relatively uninvolved once again, attempting just six shots from the floor in 25 minutes of play. He’s listed as day-to-day, while LeBron James is questionable as well with shoulder soreness.
The Heat can blame being banged up for some of the problems, but playing the second night of a back-to-back on the road should prove difficult, so it’s easy to understand why the Bobcats are only six point underdogs.
Charlotte is pretty woeful offensively, ranking 28th in the NBA in scoring with 93.8 points per game, but the team has improved its defense and the slow pace, too, has enabled Charlotte to allow just 96.7 per game.
Of course, the result is a negative point-differential, but this is a team that finished 7-59 just two seasons ago. Al Jefferson has to be credited for a lot of the improvement, as well as the continued growth of UConn product, combo guard Kemba Walker.
Walker is leading the team in minutes played (36 per game) and scoring with a 19 point per game average. His five assists per game seem deceptively low, and that’s primarily due to the Bobcats’ offense and teammates missing shots they should be making. Jefferson is primarily a back to the basket player, and it should be a mission of the Bobcats to find Walker a suitable pick and role partner.
Second year forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been injured most of the season, but he returned to action on Tuesday night and scored eight points on 3-of-12 from the floor. He saw 30 minutes in the game so clearly his role will become bigger as time goes on. In his two career games against the Heat he’s scored just seven points per game, and MKG has a lot of offensive improvements to make before the Scottie Pippen comparisons some drew could be rendered anywhere near true.
Still, the Bobcats are not as dreadful as what is typical, and with as weak as the Eastern Conference is, the team could even escape the first round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
Miami Trends: UNDER 5-0 in last 5 vs teams with losing SU records; 0-5 ATS in last 5 when following an SU win of 10-plus; OVER 7-1 in last 8 when opponent scores 100 or more in previous game.
Charlotte Trends: 0-4 ATS in last 4 vs teams with winning SU records; OVER 4-0 in last 4 when opponent scores 100 or more in previous game; UNDER 4-0 in last 4 following SU win.
Head-to-head: UNDER 4-0 in last 4 in Charlotte; UNDER 6-1 in last 7 meetings; Heat 5-1 ATS in last 6 meetings in Charlotte.