Feb 6 NBA Action: Taking a Side on Miami Heat @ San Antonio Spurs
Our work suggests the Miami Heat should cover this evening against the Spurs at AT&T Center in San Antonio. The two simulation routines we consult suggest the Spurs advantage is 6 or 7 points rather than double digits, as reflected in the betting line.
The quant component of our process handicaps this contest even closer, at Spurs -2.5. However, this factor does not specifically consider that Dwayne Wade will miss tonight's action due to an ailing hamstring. Based on Wade's Real Plus Minus of +0.72, his average of 32.3 minutes playing time per game, and the expectation for 191 total offensive and defensive possessions this evening, we estimate the loss of the Heat's premier Two Guard is worth just under 1 spread point to Miami. Carrying on, backup Point Guard, Norris Cole, has been inheriting about 10 extra minutes per contest as a result of Wade's injury. His extra time is expected to cost Miami about another 1.5 points per game, on average. And finally, Shooting Guard, Tyler Johnson has likewise logged just under 18 MPG in Wade's stead. The value of this change is estimated at about 0.5 points.
Thus, by our math, the change that Wade's bum hammy necessitates is worth 3 spread points, on average. When we adjust our power-rankings based spread estimate by this figure, we derive a theoretical advantage of about 5.5 points for the Spurs (the 2.5 point base referenced previously, plus the 3 point adjustment for injury-induced personnel shifts) -- in-line with the signals from our sim work.
The Spurs have won 4 of their last 5 straight-up, but have dropped their last 7 versus the number. Further, on the season, San Antonio is only 5-8 ATS laying double digits at home. On the other hand, Miami has only been labeled dogs of 10 points or more once. They beat the Clippers outright to cover in that instance.
We do not expect the Heat to pull off an absolute win tonight, however, we think the potential for Miami to hang within single digits is excellent. Even if the Heat fall behind early, we see like their chance of gaining ground during garbage time, after the Spurs starters have been resigned to the bench. Take the points and wager the Heat to cover.