Date/Time: December 18th, 7:00 p.m. ET
Basketball Odds from BetDSI
Point Spread: Off
One of the league’s newest rivalries will be renewed when Eastern Conference powers meet in the sunshine state, as the Miami Heat take on the Indiana Pacers at American Airlines Arena on ESPN at 7:00 ET.
The Pacers come into this game having beaten the Heat at Bankers Life Fieldhouse 90-84 just nine days ago. Pacers C Roy Hibbert went for 24 points and five rebounds to lead Indiana’s victory that night. Wednesday, you can expect another big game from Hibbert who is pure poison for a Miami defense that struggles to stop teams with a big-man in the paint. He’s averaging 12.9 points and 8.8 boards per game, and he and F David West make up one of the best big man duos in the game today. Indy’s F Paul George is quickly turning into one of the NBA’s rising stars. The Fresno State product averages 24.1 points per game to lead the Pacers offense, and he’s the complete player as well, averaging 5.8 boards, 3.5 assists, and 2.0 steals per game to boot. Defensively, Indiana is among the league’s best led by Hibbert’s 3.0 blocks per game, good for second in the league. On Monday, George was held to just 17 points in a 101-96 loss to the Detroit Pistons. Indiana looks to get some help after this game with F Danny Granger scheduled to return on Friday. The Pacers are an impressive 9-3 ATS on the road this season.
Miami seems to have survived a scary moment on Monday as F LeBron James twisted his left ankle in its 117-94 win over the Utah Jazz. James missed some of the second half, but he did return to cap off a 30-point performance and added nine rebounds. The Heat enter this game in unfamiliar territory as they sit second in the East behind Indy. James leads Miami’s big three averaging 25.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game. Heat G Dwyane Wade has been playing some of his best basketball at the age of 31, as he scores 18.8 points per game and leads the team raking 2.1 steals per contest. Keep a close eye on the status of F Michael Beasley in this one. He has missed the last four games with a hamstring injury, and in his absence, the Heat are just 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS. He is averaging 11.4 points per game this season, making him the perfect complement to the “Super Friends,” who continue to compile some of the most impressive stats for a trio of stars in the NBA. In this game, Miami will need all hands on deck to beat a solid Pacers squad that is the East’s best at 9-3 SU on the road this season. The Heat is 11-2 SU when they play on South Beach, but just 5-8 ATS in those contests.
If James can get Wade and company going early, look for the Heat to jump out to a lead in front of their home crowd. Indiana should be able to weather the storm and pull back into contention in the second half. Though it should suffice for a cover on the NBA betting lines, we do not think it will be enough for the Pacers to pull out the SU victory, as James will provide some late heroics. The Heat not only struggled against the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse last week, but they are just 1-3 ATS in their last four games at home, including barely beating the Charlotte Bobcats and getting waxed by the Detroit Pistons in that stretch. Miami 96 – Indiana 94
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.