Heat vs. Blazers Pick NBA – Jan 8th

Another night in the NBA and another winning pick here at The Sports Geek. It’s been a great start to the 2015 year as we are now 7-1-1 ATS in our last nine plays. This time it was the Houston Rockets (what curse of Josh Smith??) going into Cleveland and taking down the Cavaliers to hand the LeBron-less Cavs their sixth loss in seven days. Is it time to fire the coach and go bananas in Cleveland? Probably not. But the top four teams in the East are starting to radically separate themselves to the point that even when LeBron returns healthy, the gap might be too big to close. They are six back of Chicago and Washington in the loss column and a staggering nine back of the Atlanta Hawks for the top seed with just more than half the season remaining.

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Meanwhile, I made a bad typo yesterday and mentioned the Pistons were going to the Clippers. The correct description was that they were going to Dallas, statistically an LESS likely destination to win, but statistics don’t seem to mean ANYTHING to the Pistons right now (back to the Josh Smith curse, it’s real again…). The Motor City miracles reeled off their seventh straight win and have more than eclipsed their previous season win total over the last two weeks. They have won six of the games by double digits and just won back to back nights in San Antonio and Dallas. I’m at a loss for words, but I do know I haven’t seen much like it in the NBA before. It’s crazy.

Today’s Free Pick:

Miami Heat at Portland Trailblazers -8.5 (Total: 197)

It’s an odd day in the NBA with only three games on the schedule and all of them pretty lopsided lines.   I’m not in love with any games on the schedule tonight, but I do like the Blazers at home over a reeling Miami team. The Heat have won four of their last five over Portland, but I imagine the Blazers will enjoy an opportunity to get a little comeuppance against the dramatically different Heat roster.

Portland has been dominant at home. They are averaging a +9.4 ppg margin at home and many of those games have been against Western Conference opponents. The Heat have some of their players back, most notably Chris Bosh, and they are beginning to get some contributions from Danny Granger, but it just isn’t enough. The Heat are hanging on to the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs positioning and frankly don’t look like a playoff team most nights.

Oddly the Heat are 8-8 on the road, despite being outscored by an average of almost five points per game. Just looking at average margins, current momentum and overall team play, eight and a half points doesn’t seem like an unreasonable lay-down tonight. I’ll take Portland to continue their home dominance tonight.

Free Pick: Portland Trailblazers -8.5

Chris Scheeren / Author