The Heat just keep on churning, but in order to run their streak to a nice twenty games, they are going to have to do something NBA teams generally struggle to do; win on the road on the second night of a back-to-back. Of course, this is the same Heat team who earlier this season became the first team in NBA history to win three consecutive road games in three consecutive nights (before you get to excited, the ‘record” is aided by the fact that the NBA is rarely that sadistic in their scheduling practices).
Making things even more favorable, they are traveling to Philadelphia to play the oft listless Sixers.
Can Lebron and Co. keep it going? Heck, will the lose another game this season??
Let’s dig into that matchup and one other for tonight’s free picks.
Miami Heat -8.5 at Philadelphia 76’ers
The Sixers held a lead late in the third quarter last week in Miami. Then the Heat woke up, tapped the accelerator and blew past Philly, leaving them wondering what just happened. Different city tonight, but I expect much the same result. The Heat will be a little road weary after their win over Atlanta, but the fuel of the streak will give them just enough fire to beat a clearly inferior team.
Miami has a habit of letting weak teams hang around too long – call it the malaise before the Playoff that many champions go through. And that’s about the ONLY negative thing you can say about the Heat. Their starters have shot nearly 60% from the floor in their last three games. Playing at an efficiency anywhere CLOSE to that level, they are truly unbeatable.
Give me the Heat to do JUST enough to get the cover tonight in Philly.
Free Pick: Miami Heat -8.5
New York Knicks at Denver Nuggets -7
It’s funny, I posted a nice 3-1 night ATS, but the game that bugs me – the one that has stuck in my craw for two days is the absolute crapfest the Knicks threw on the floor in a 63 point effort in a loss at reeling Golden State. Hindisght is 20/20, and every losing picks feels “stupid” in retrospect, but that one really pissed me off…
And here we go again – the Knicks on the road against a formidable Western Conference foe once again. The difference tonight? They are at the MOST formidable home team in the West, at least by the statistics. You can argue you’d rather go to Denver than OKC or San Antonio, but by winning percentage and average point differential, no one is better at home than the Nuggets.
Plus, they enjoy giving it to ‘Melo a bit in the Mile High City. There a definite feel of “oh, you didn’t want to play here, eh?” to the games – even still. That’s really saying something is generally docile Denver. The Nuggets are playing fantastic basketball as well. They are on a nine game winning streak and have seen their home record balloon to 28-3 during that span.
I like Denver at home, and I will continue to keep liking Denver at home until Vegas starts elevating the lines to ten points. Until then, give me Denver at home to keep cashing in winning tickets.
Free Pick: Denver Nuggets -7