Hornets vs. Heat Pick NBA Playoffs Game One

The NBA Playoffs got off to a nice start yesterday with a little bit of everything; a nice competitive tense game between two pretty evenly matched teams in Atlanta and Boston, an upset winner with my best series value underdog play Indiana getting an early series lead with a comfortable road win in Toronto, and two heavy favorites summarily dismissing their foes with Golden State and Oklahoma City running ripshod over Houston and Dallas.

But the biggest story of the day will be Steph Curry and his ankle.  All indications are he is little worse for the wear and will be just fine, but obviously, if anything goes wrong with Steph, we are looking at a MUCH different playoff picture…

We have four more series beginning today, starting with LeBron and Cleveland trying to match the favorite domination of Golden State and OKC today against a Detroit team more than a few pundits have given a puncher’s chance.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Charlotte Hornets at Miami Heat -4.5

If you can tell me the definitive difference between these two teams right now, I’d invite you to have the floor.  Because there simply isn’t much of one right now.  For every check you put in one team’s column, you can place an equal one in the others.  The Heat have bigger NAMES, the Hornets have younger legs and a little better depth.  The Heat have a couple better individual defenders.  Both held teams to identical 44% shooting numbers and 35% from behind the arc.  Both have been brilliant in stretches and both have been pedestrian often enough to finish with mirroring 47 wins on the season.  This is going to be a close series where one of two shots, one or two plays, and even one or two whistles could be the difference.

To make things even more interesting, these two teams split the season series 2-2, with each winning the last matchup of the season on the opponent’s floor by matching three point margins.

It’s honestly pretty bananas how even this matchup is.  Which is why I love getting a fistful of points with anyone until a clear edge (or IF a clear edge) emerges in this series.  I think today will be a lot like yesterday’s other matchup of mirroring-record Eastern Conference opponents, Atlanta and Boston – an evenly played, tense, tough game between two teams who both rightly believe they can win this series and advance.  I’d lean Miami on their home floor straight up, but with five points, I’m all Charlotte.

If you are looking for an easy OVER/UNDER lean, these two teams split THAT wager 2-2 this season as well, with a high-water mark of 215 and a low water mark of 182, so I am staying off the TOTAL for today as well.

I’ll take the Hornets and the points in a good matchup worth tuning in for.

Free Pick: Charlotte Hornets +4.5

Chris Scheeren / Author