Notoriously Slow-Starting Wiz Hosts Heat

Tonight’s free pick targets the Heat to cover a 5.5-point spread against a typically slow-starting Wizards squad. Score prediction, tips, and analysis here.

Heat vs. Wizards (-5, 214)

Line Movement:

Roughly, three-quarters of all against-the-spread tickets at the top online sportsbooks are favoring the Wizards over the Heat. As of publication, the line is offered at -5, up a point from a -4 opener. The total is seeing heavy public action as well. Nearly 78 percent of bets are backing the OVER, the total up to 214.5 from an initial 212 offer.

Analysis:

The Heat are coming off a disappointing 104-101 opening-game defeat to the Magic on Wednesday. Guard Goran Dragic led the team with 26 points, but the squad struggled collectively on offense, shooting 39.1 percent from the floor. In 11 games sinking below 40 percent last season, Miami returned to average 48.5 percent next time out. Posting 110.7 points per game, the OVER went 9-2 in this situation. Expect better shooting tonight.

The Wizards are dependent on backcourt duo John Wall and Bradley Beal. The pair, which comprise one of the longest starting tandems in the NBA, historically get off to slow starts. When they share the court together, the Washington is 4-4 SU and 1-7 ATS through the first two games of the season. It is coming up -6.3 points shy of a -2.9 average line. New players, such as center Dwight Howard, will make little difference.

Pick:

The Heat are 12-12 SU and 18-6 ATS (75 percent) when Hassan Whiteside starts as an underdog against Southeast division rivals. The average margin of victory is neutral (0.0), despite Miami catching an average 3.9 points. The team, in fact, has only lost six altogether by more than 5 points. Heat +5.5