With their sights set on a sweep, the Miami Heat travel to Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., to take on the Bobcats in Game 3 of the 2014 NBA playoffs series. Opening tipoff is scheduled for tonight at 7:10 p.m. EST (6:10 p.m. CST/5:10 p.m. MST/4:10 p.m. PST), will be nationally televised on TNT Sports and streaming live and free on TNT’s Live Stream (online) page.
On Saturday, April 26, 2014, Steve Reed of the Associated Press previewed this game from the Charlotte Bobcats’ perspective. In his report, he points out that while the Cats have certainly gained everyone’s respect, it may not be enough to avoid being swept.
But do the Bobcats appear to be closing the gap between themselves and the 2-time defending NBA champs as the series progresses? There’s no question that the general consensus is that Miami is light-years ahead of Charlotte in seemingly every category.
Nevertheless, statistics tell a very compelling story in the underdogs’ favor heading into tonight’s pivotal Game 3. In Game 1, the Bobcats actually had a double-digit lead before the Heat came roaring back. In fact, if it weren’t for Dwyane Wade’s steal in the final seconds of the game, they could’ve gone to an extra session.
A similar scenario happened in Game 2, but Charlotte actually picked things up in the latter part of the game. After being outscored 29-19 in the first quarter, the Cats came roaring back match Miami’s 28 points in the second, and actually outscored the mighty Heat in the third and fourth quarters, 25-22.
“I think we know that we can challenge these guys and win,” said Charlotte guard Kemba Walker following Friday’s shootarounds. “We’re still confident as a team.”
In the case of the Heat, an April 25, 2014, LAT report shows how Miami’s mentality has to change before this team is ready to complete a three-peat. Ethan Skolnick sheds light on the fact that LeBron James and the rest of the organization need to toughen up and play ball rather than wait for someone to feel sorry for them, or help them out with a favorable call.
“It feels like we’ve been down this road four or five times already this year,” said heat head coach Erik Spoelstra after the league refused to punish Josh McRoberts’ “elbow-to-the-throat” shot on LBJ. “We just want there to be a better vigilance and awareness of those plays. LeBron is an attack player. He should not be penalized for his aggressiveness, the size and speed of his drives at the rim. We’re all fortunate. ... That play could have been much worse. Could have been much worse. And it's not the first time it's happened.”
But as it turns out, NBA oddsmakers aren’t buying the notion that Charlotte appears to be closing the distance. Instead, Miami [-5] comes into Game 3 favored to defeat Charlotte [+5] by at least two baskets, and the OVER/UNDER sums up to 188 points total. In addition, straight-up betting lines have the Heat as high as -210 and the Bobcats as far as +177 underdogs.
But is the public sold on the fact that the Miami Heat will unquestionable sweep the Charlotte Bobcats in their Eastern Conference playoffs opening-round series? in order to get a pulse on the betting public, take a look at the following figures:
Betting Action Before TNT Scheduled TV Start Time
Heat ATS spread totals: 1,168 wagers (58 percent).
Bobcats ATS spread totals: 837 wagers (42 percent).
OVER bets: 60 percent (902 units).
UNDER bets: 40 percent (605 units).
ATS Trends Before TNT’s Free Live Stream Online Feed
Heat is 8-3 in their last 11 Eastern Conference quarterfinals games.
Heat is 1-3-1 in their last 5 Saturday games.
Heat is 3-9 in their last 12 road games.
Bobcats are 6-0 in their last 6 games playing on 2 days rest.
Bobcats are 7-1 in their last 8 games following a straight-up loss.
Bobcats are 6-1 in their last 7 home games versus a team with a winning road record.
2014 NBA Playoffs Buzzer-Beating Stats for Heat vs. Bobcats
OVER is 11-2 in Miami’s last 13 games versus the NBA’s Southeast Division.
UNDER is 5-1 in Miami’s last 6 games playing on 2 days rest.
OVER is 5-1 in Miami’s last 6 games following an against-the-spread loss.
OVER is 5-0 in Charlotte’s last 5 versus teams with winning straight-up records.
OVER is 5-1 in Charlotte’s last 6 Saturday games.
OVER is 20-6 in Charlotte’s last 26 games following a straight-up loss.