Bobkitten Surprise: Charlotte Bobcats Visit Miami Heat

Charlotte Bobcats AT Miami Heat
April 8, 2011 at 7:35 PM EST
Opening Line:  Miami -12
Current Line:  Miami -14
Opening Total:  186.5
Current Total:  187.5
Opening Moneyline:  Mia -1300 / Cha +850
Current Moneyline:  Mia -2000 / Cha +1200

Erik Spoelstra isn't panicking.

Miami lost an embarassing one to the Bucks Wednesday night, but it had a lot to do with missing the NBA’s third leading scorer (ironically not leading his team in scoring, however) in Dwyane Wade.  Wade is questionable tonight, but Heat players and coach Erik Spolestra are admittedly looking beyond this game to the matchup with the Boston Celtics, which should prove as a measuring stick to gauge the progress of the Heat.  They have lost all three games to the Celtics this season so far.

Spoelstra was not concerned over the struggles Wednesday night at Milwaukee.  “Much like these games feel in the playoffs, you lose one, everyone is ready to panic and shovel dirt on whatever we’re trying to do,” Spoelstra told the team’s official website. “We just have to stay the course and take care of business.”

Taking care of business against the Bobcats may prove to be easy since they are currently missing their leading scorer and point forward in Stephen Jackson.  The Bobcats have dropped four straight without him and just got mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, making this game completely meaningless for a team that is struggling.  Perhaps that is why the line has shifted further in the favor of the Heat who must win this game if they want to have a chance at the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference, which will prove to be important given the tight nature of the top teams in the East.

Some betting trends:

The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Charlotte’s last 6 games and they are 1-4 SU in their last 5 games.  They are also 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games and the total has gone UNDER in 10 of their last 11 on the road.  The total has gone UNDER in 5 of the last 6 against Miami, as well.  Charlotte is 1-4 SU in their last 5 against the Heat and the total has gone OVER in 4 of Charlotte’s last 6 games on the road in Miami.  Charlotte is 1-5 SU in their last 6 on the road in Miami and the Bobcats are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 on the road in Miami.

Miami is 8-2 SU in their last 10 games and the total has gone UNDER In 4 of their last 6 at home.  Miami is 6-2 SU in their last 8 at home and they are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games at home.  Miami is 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 games against the Bobcats and the total has gone UNDER in 5 of Miami’s last 6 games against the Bobcats.  Miami is 4-1 SU in their last 5 games against the Bobcats.  Miami is 5-1 SU in their last 6 games against the Bobcats and the Heat are 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 at home against the Bobcats.  The total has gone OVER in 4 of their last 6 home meetings with Charlotte.

Key Matchups:

D.J. Augustin vs. Mike Bibby

An unlikely “key matchup” occurs here at point guard since the Bobcats are even more heavily reliant on D.J. Augustin to provide offense with the likelihood that Stephen Jackson misses another game.  Augustin had a horrible outing last game against the Magic, mustering just 6 points and struggling badly defensively against Jameer Nelson and Gilbert Arenas.  Before the Orlando contest, Augustin had scored 20.6 points per game over the three games against teh Cavs, Wizards, and the Magic (at Orlando).  The undersized Augustin will have a much easier time with Mike Bibby, who at this point in his career is little more than a spot up shooter; LeBron does the playmaking.

Gerald Henderson vs. Dwyane Wade

Assuming Wade returns from injury, this should be a fairly entertaining matchup.  Henderson is a decent defender who has a shot at holding Wade below his season average, though it is likely Wade comes out firing.  The interesting part is this:  in the loss to Orlando, Henderson attempted 22 shots, hitting 12, en route to 32 points in 44 minutes of action.  If he replicates that and Charlotte gets some help from Augustin this game, they could easily upset the Heat.  The question is whether the Bobcats’ players are even up to the challenge given the irrelevant nature of the game for Charlotte.

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