Clippers at Heat Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 2/8/2013
The Heat are the defending champions. The Clippers would like to be in that position in June. Both teams lead their division, and both teams are built to compete. Ultimately, this game isn’t going to prove anything one way or the other — winning or losing won’t have any bearing how the season ultimately ends up. From a psychological basis, though, winning would be significant for the Heat and huge for the Clippers. That makes this game about as interesting as one can be in the dog days of the NBA season.
Clippers at Heat Betting Storylines
As good as this game has the potential to be, it could have been a whole lot more interesting if it had been played three weeks ago. At that point the Clippers were 32-9 and were in cruise control. They looked ready for anything. Since then, though, they have been forced to deal with a lot of adversity, and they haven’t handled it particularly well. They are just 3-7 in their last 10, have losing streaks of three and four games, and have lost six of eight played on the road — including humiliating losses in Phoenix, Toronto, and Washington. In other words, though the Clippers have what it takes to be an elite team, they have been a long way from elite since the middle of January. If they don’t play the best game they have played in a dozen or so games then this one could get ugly.
Injuries haven’t been entirely to blame for the Clippers’ issues, but they certainly haven’t helped. It’s hard for any team to shine when they are missing their three leading scorers, but that is just where the Clippers have had to deal with. Most significantly, Chris Paul has been out for nine games with a bruised knee cap. That has put a massive burden on Eric Bledsoe. While he has been playing well for the most part, he is obviously no Paul, and the team’s struggles without their point guard aren’t exactly a surprise. On top of that, Blake Griffin has missed two games with a tweaked hamstring, and Jamal Crawford missed Wednesday’s game with a sore shoulder. Despite missing those three stars, the team did beat Orlando on Wednesday. However, it take just a little more to beat Miami than Orlando these days. The good news, though, is that on Thursday the team had its first practice all year in which all players were active, and though these three players and Chauncey Billups all remain questionable, they all stand a good chance of playing on Friday. That would fill out the roster nicely and would also give them a massive psychological boost at the time when this team needs it most. Above all, though, the uncertainty around injuries means that the longer you can wait to bet on this game the better.
The Heat aren’t entirely healthy, either, though compared to the Clippers they are the model of health. Chris Bosh did not play on Wednesday, but he’s only struggling with a cold, so he should be fine and ready to go on Friday. The Heat are surely hoping that he finds his game again when he finds his health. He has never exactly been a demon in the paint, but he has been a shadow of even himself on the boards lately. Over his last five games he is averaging about half of his season rebound totals. He’ll be matched up with DeAndre Jordan in this one, and the Clipper has the tools to drive Bosh insane. Jordan is a very good defender who matches Bosh for size. Jordan needs to dominate this matchup to give his team a good chance of winning. If Bosh can shine then his team will likely win.
Clippers at Heat NBA Odds and Betting Trends
The Clippers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games on one day of rest and just 3-7 ATS in their last 10. The Heat have covered each of the last four meetings, with 10 of the last 13 meetings going “over” the total.
Clippers at Heat Picks and Betting Predictions
Maybe it’s because it is the end of the week, but I feel like gambling. That means I’ll take the Clippers. Miami has been winning, but their schedule has been soft, and they aren’t winning big or playing with a lot of ferocity. If the Clippers are healthy for once, they should get a boost. And that should be enough to make this interesting. The Clippers are the pick.
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