Pelicans vs. Heat Pick – March 15th

It may be “NCAA Tournament Eve” but that doesn’t mean we can’t still stack up an NBA winner or two in the meantime.  There are a handful of good NBA matchups on the slate tonight including a bunch of Eastern Conference teams hovering around the playoff cutline with some tough matchups.  The Bulls host the Grizzlies, the Bucks are in Los Angeles to face the Clippers, the Pacers host the Hornets and the Heat host the Pelicans.  Four of the aforementioned Eastern Conference teams are separated by just two games in the standings with only the Pacers currently IN the Playoffs, and Charlotte is lurking three games back and getting desperate.

Granted, it is a long season, but with the finish line in sight, every result is starting to have immediate impact.

The Warriors got back on track last night to edge back out to a half-game lead in the Western Conference as they celebrated Steph’s 29th birthday with a win over the Sixers.  They stopped a nasty skid, but are still just 3-5 SU without KD and plenty of question marks surround the two-time defending Western Conference champs.  Meanwhile, their counterparts in the East, Cleveland, snapped their skid with some extra emphasis, pummeling the Knicks in a game in which they made their first TEN three point attempts.  A three-peat rematch still seems likely, but it is FAR less certain that it seemed a month ago…

Today’s NBA Pick:

New Orleans Pelicans at Miami Heat -6

You’ve read this column before, but it is still applicable.  Over the last two months, the Miami Heat are the BEST TEAM IN THE NBA.  They are 22-5 SU, a plenty large enough sample size to take this team seriously.  They are 8-2 ATS in their last ten games, even as the Vegas lines have caught up to the new reality in which Miami isn’t a Lottery team anymore, and they are 5-0 ATS in their last five home games.

New Orleans is a new-look team as well with the addition of Boogie Cousins, and they have been better lately, going 5-2 ATS in their last seven games.  However, since getting Boogie they are still under .500 and are 4-6 SU in their last ten games.  They also played last night, making tonight the tail end of a back-to-back, on the road against a very good team.  That is a recipe for NBA betting disaster.

Until I have a compelling reason to back off, I am all in on the Miami Heat.  The lines are adjusting, but not overly so – laying six in this situation would seem cheap with Cleveland or San Antonio.  Over the last two months, that is who Miami has been.  So I will swallow the half dozen and trust the Heat to stay scorching as they hunt down a playoff position.

Today’s Pick:  Miami Heat -6

Chris Scheeren / Author