Thursday night NBA and I will have a Free Pick in the game between the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers, which will take place at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The game has a start time of 8:00 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on TNT. Current Vegas betting odds have the Cavaliers listed as 12 point favorites, while the total is set at 200.
Analysis: The Miami Heat are not really playing good ball at the moment as they come in having won just 2 of their last 6 games. for the year the Heat are now 34-40 overall, including 16-21 on the road and if the playoffs started today they would have the number 7 seed in the East. Miami has gone 38-17-1 ATS in their last 56 games following a SU loss of more than 10 points, but just 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600. The Heat have not been a good offensive team this year, ranking 28th in scoring (94.7 ppg), 10th in shooting, 20th in 3 point shooting and 23rd in FT shooting. Defensively the Heat have been very good this year, ranking 3rd in points allowed (96.8 ppg), 22nd in defensive FG% and 20th in 3 point defense.
All the early season talk of the Cavs being in trouble this year, because they just haven't gelled has been put to rest since January 15th. Since that date the Cavs have gone 29-7, with all 7 losses coming on the road. For the Year Cleveland is 48-27 overall, including 27-9 at home and they currently have a 2.5 game lead over Chicago for the 2nd seed in the East. Cleveland has gone 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games following a ATS loss, but the favorite is 2-8 ATS the last 10 in the series. The Cavaliers have been a good offensive team this year, ranking 6th in scoring (103.3 ppg), 7th in shooting, 7th in 3 point shooting and 16th in FT shooting. Defensively the Cavaliers have been solid this year, ranking 12th in points allowed (98.5 ppg), 21st in defensive FG% and 8th in 3 point defense.
Pick: Going with the Under here. I know that Lebron gets up for this game, but I feel that the Heat will be able to slow him and his mates down enough to keep this one fairly low scoring. The Heat come in as the 3rd ranked scoring defense in the league, while the have allowed just 93.4 ppg in their last 7 games. The Cavs have really played defense much better after a slow start and they have allowed just 92.5 ppg in their last 6 games, while allowing 96.8 ppg at home for the year. The Cavs can score, but the Heat have struggled on offense all year, especialy on the road where they have averaged just 92.3 ppg for the year. The Under is 9-3-1 the last 13 at games in this series played in Cleveland and I expect that to continue here.
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