Pro Basketball Handicapping: Miami Heat at Los Angeles Clippers Expert Picks

Miami Heat at Los Angeles Clippers
Wednesday, 1/12/11, 10:30 PM EDT
Opening Point Spread:  Miami -7.5
Current Betting Line:  Miami -8
Opening Total:  193.5
Current Total:  194

The Los Angeles Clippers are eight-point home underdogs against the Miami Heat at Staples Center Wednesday night

Miami has won 13 consecutive road games and 21 of 22 overall heading into tonight’s matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center.  The Heat have a chance of matching the league record for consecutive road wins if they finish their current five-game road trip unbeaten.  The team is coming off its second consecutive overtime win, posting a 107-100 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, with star LeBron James leading the way with 44 points.  “You look at games like this and you really understand why we decided to team up and come together,” said star guard Dwyane Wade.  “I’m just glad to experience wearing the same jersey that he wears.”  Miami is 11-5 versus the Western Conference this year, including a 7-3 mark away from home.  The squad is 19-19 ATS on the season and currently a road favorite on the NBA lines page.

The Heat and Clippers meet for the first of two match-ups this season, with the two clubs splitting the season series last year.  Miami is 28-16 all-time against Los Angeles in the regular season, including a 13-9 record in Southern California.  The experiment is starting to pay off for the Big Three joining forces, combining to score a season-best 96 points last time out against Portland.  It was the 14th time this season in which they’ve combined to score at least 75 points, posting a 13-1 mark in those contests.  Wade has been especially hot in the scoring column, managing to post 30-plus points in five of his last seven games, averaging 31.9 points over that span.

Los Angeles is starting to make some noise this season and has picked up five victories in the last six meetings at tonight’s venue against Miami.  “It doesn’t matter who we play,” said rookie forward Blake Griffin.  “I think we have a talented team and as long as we prepare the right way and execute the right way I think we can be anybody.”  He managed to pick up his 23rd straight double-double Sunday with 23 points and 12 rebounds in a 105-91 victory over Golden State.  He will be matched up with Chris Bosh, who has averaged 26.1 points and 10.8 rebounds in his last 10 games against the Clippers.  Los Angeles is 2-7 versus the Eastern Conference this year, including a winless 0-5 mark at home.  The squad is 10-12 ATS at home this season.

The Clippers are undoubtedly led by the exciting play of rookie forward Blake Griffin, but their recent play is also a product of point guard Baron Davis.  He ranks fifth in the NBA among all guards with a 3.9 assists per turnover ratio over the last 14 days.  Overall this season, he is 10th in the league in the category.  Guard Eric Gordon completes the backcourt and is averaging a career-high 23.5 points per game, the 10th-highest average in the NBA.

Bettors will be interested in backing the Heat due to their 11-2 ATS mark on the road, while the Clippers are 2-10 ATS versus the Eastern Conference.

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