When we were giving you our Betting on Basketball preview of the Eastern Conference Playoffs we said that the Charlotte Hornets looked like underdogs, had the odds of an underdog, and well, played like underdogs. Yet, we acknowledged that the Hornets had a very decent chance of upsetting the Miami Heat, especially if they manage to steal one game from Miami. Last Night, they did, and not only that, game 6 moves to Charlotte with the Hornets on the brink of eliminating the favorite Heat.
But before we move in to Friday’s game, let’s review game 5 and why the Hornets are now in the lead. The basic principle of the NBA playoffs is that in order for you to win the series you must win on the road. Even more so for teams that even have home court advantage. The Heat had taken a 2 game lead at the start of the series, but they were unable to capitalize when they headed to Charlotte. The Hornets responded strongly and with determination to push this series to go to distance. Much to Charlotte’s credit, they managed to stay in this series, despite being the underdogs for the entire series, and being overwhelmingly picked against by a large majority of players online betting on basketball.
The Heat has been struggling on defense for the past three games and, their lack of rebounding has cost them dearly this series. And it became even more evident on Game 5. In the final Quarter, a critical defensive rebound could have prevented the three pointer that gave the Hornets the final 2 point lead. Also, worth mentioning, the game ended in a controversial no foul call for the Heat that could have sent Dwyane Wade to the line with 4 seconds left.
The Hornets now will take the series at home with the possibility of providing the playoffs the real first honest to god upset. Stealing a game from Miami is a huge deal and they made it when it hurt the Heat the most. Jeremy Lin has been a critical player for this Charlotte team at during the playoffs averaging over 14 points a game. And with their momentum, things look to be going Hornet’s way. With the early odds for betting on basketball place them as the slight favorites:
Heat +1½ (-110)
Hornets -1½ (-110)
Game 6 will be tough and physical. The character shown by the Hornets so far will definitely come to play as they can expect the Heat coming in strong from the tip off. The key for this game will be definitely how Wade responds to being against the wall. Miami needs Wade to be in top form if they are going to force a Game 7. So far, Wade has been inconsistent, and frankly one can’t really know which version of him we might be seeing on Friday. It will fall on his back.
Our pick for this game is that is going to be gritty, its going to be tough. Betting on Basketball fans should pick the under on this game, because neither team will have many offensive liberties, so a low scoring game is the best bet. In the end the Heat will take this game back home to close out a Game 7.