(11-8, 6-13 ATS)
(7-10, 8-9 ATS)
Quicken Loans Arena hasn’t had all that much to be proud of this year, but they know that they would love nothing more than to watch their hometown heroes, the Cleveland Cavaliers, beat the snot out of the departed F LeBron James and the Miami Heat and LeBron’s first game back in Cleveland.
Miami snapped its skid of losing four out of five earlier this week when it took down the Washington Wizards and the Detroit Pistons in a span of three nights. These two games aren’t what you would call phenomenal, but the Heat needed to get back on track in the worst way. NBA betting fans found themselves on the wrong side of seven straight on the basketball odds with Miami before last night’s 97-72 win over the men from Motown. James had scored 20+ points in 15 straight games before only making in to 18 last night, and you can bet that he is going to try his best to do a number on the Cavaliers on Thursday. His backcourt mate, Dwyane Wade, only scored 16 points, while Chris Bosh put up just 16 points as well. It was the first time that none of the “Big Three” reached 20 points in a game for the Heat since they came together. What we tend to forget with HC Eric Spoelstra’s squad is that it plays fantastic defense. The Heat are averaging allowing just 93.3 points per game on the campaign.
For the Cavs, this is the game that they would really want to make the statement in, but it is very questionable whether they have the horses to do so or not. They only average 94.6 points per game and shoot 43.7 percent from the field, numbers that really don’t warrant being able to take down a team like Miami. The only nice thing for HC Byron Scott is that this is a team that is a lot more well balanced than we ever thought, and that balance has at least kept the city of Cleveland entertained with some really solid athletes. Mo Williams, Daniel Gibson, JJ Hickson, Antawn Jamison, and Ramon Sessions are all averaging at least ten points per game, and they’re all going to need to do at least that to be able to beat the Heat. Watch out for Anderson Varejao in this one, as he is going to be the man that tries to clog up the middle. He is averaging 8.7 points and 9.1 boards on the season, and he has 27 assists, 10 steals, and 16 blocks to show for his work to boot.
Cleveland isn’t nearly as good as Miami is, but it feels like the stars deserve to align tonight for the Cavs. Scott is a smart coach, and the Cavaliers do have the horses to be able to get into the paint and wreck some havoc on that Heat defense. This one could be a brutal, bloody, knock ‘em down and knock ‘em out street fight, and if that’s the case, we want every single point we can get on our sides. If justice is served, LeBron and company go home with another loss.
NBA Free Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers +6