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Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers

The Miami heat and the Philadelphia 76ers meet as they close out their 2013-2014 NBA regular season schedules. The Heat are -10 point favorites over the 76ers with an over/under point total set at 204.
The Miami Heat have locked down the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and this game has no bearing on anything for them. While the Heat are two time defending NBA Champions it is doubtful we will see LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh nor any of the other stars who are an integral part of this team. The heat rested their starters last game as well to take the loss that sealed their playoff position. Facing a 76ers team that was one of the worst in the NBA, it would do the Heat little good to play their best players as the rest will do them much more good than the win.
The Philadelphia 76ers have had a season to forget and as soon as the final buzzer sounds the Sixers will be happy this season is history. The 76ers have the second worst record in the NBA and will have the second best chance at the top pick in the NBA draft but no matter where they end up, no worse than fifth, they should be able to pick up some real quality talent. The 76ers are just 8-32 on the road this season going 3-7 in their last 10. While Philadelphia has little to play for look for them to give this one all they have.
Miami is 7-3 against the spread against the Eastern Conference, 1-4 against the spread in their last five games, and 4-1 against the spread against a team with a losing record. Philadelphia is 5-1 against the spread in their last six games, 4-1 against the spread in their last five road games, and 4-11 against the spread against the NBA Southeast.
I believe the Heat should win this easily as they use this game as preparation for the playoffs.

Pick
Miami Heat -10 Philadelphia 76ers

Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks

LeBron James and the Miami Heat will be looking to stay hot when they welcome the New York Knicks to town. The Heat are -11 point favorites over the Knicks with an over/under point total set at 194.
The Knicks have lost nine of their last 11 games and will be hoping to avoid a fourth straight loss after falling to the Mavericks by 110-108 on Monday. Carmelo Anthony carried the Knicks with seven three pointers on his way to a game-high 44 points, but all his hard work came undone in the last second of the game when Dirk Nowitzki drained the game-winning buzzer beater to send the Knicks to 21-36 on the season and 12-19 at home. Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse shortly after the game as Raymond Felton was arrested on felony gun charges which means he could possibly face some time in prison, but for now, he is expected to suit up for tonight’s game.
On the other hand, the Heat have won 11 of their last 13 games and will be looking to build on a five-game win streak after cruising past the Bulls by 93-79 on Sunday despite LeBron James sitting out the game with a broken nose. Chris Bosh led the scoring with four three pointers on his way to 28 points while Dwyane Wade stuffed the stat sheet with 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Interestingly, Greg Oden replaced James in the starting lineup for his first NBA start since December 2009 but played just 13 minutes as he continues to work himself into shape. With the win, Miami improved to 40-14 on the season, just two games behind Indiana for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
In ATS trends, the Knicks are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games against a team with a winning record and 2-6 ATS in their last eight road games, while the Heat are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games overall and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games.
Head to head, the road team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings and the Under is 13-4-1 in the last 18 meetings.
I think the Knicks keep it close and cover the spread but do not win.

Pick
Miami Heat -11 New York Knicks

Phoenix Suns vs. Miami Heat

Lebron James and the Miami Heat travels to Phoenix to face the surprising Suns on Tuesday night. The Heat are -4 point favorites over the Suns with an over/under point total set at 208.5.
Head to head, the Heat are 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings and 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Phoenix while the favorite is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings. The Suns are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a winning road record, 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600 and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall. The Heat on the other hand are 19-8 ATS in their last 27 games following a S.U. loss, but just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games playing on 2 days rest and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Pacific.
Coming off a surprising loss to the Utah Jazz in their last outing, Lebron James and the reigning champion Miami Heat will be looking to bounce back against this surprising Phoenix Suns team, but it won’t be easy. Phoenix, who has been a feel good story so far this season, currently sits in sixth position in a stacked Western Conference, ahead of teams like Dallas, Memphis, Denver and Golden State, who they defeated in their last game on Saturday night 122-109. More importantly, for us bettors, the Suns have been one of the premier teams in that respect, covering the spread in 33 of their 50 game so far this season, a super impressive number for a team that was expected to finish at the bottom of the West before the season started.
The Heat always tend to struggle in Utah and that was again the case on Saturday night as they mustered up just 89 points as they struggled to from distance the entire game, making just seven of their 23 three-point attempts. Lebron James, the leagues second-leading scorer, was held to just 13 points on 4-13 shooting while is counter part on the other side, Marvin Williams, scored a game-high 23 points on 9-15 shooting. It was strange to see Miami struggle to score against one of the worst defensive teams in the league, especially considering they poured in 116 big ones in their previous outing against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Given that nearly every Suns home game this season has been a shootout, the over looks like a really solid play here. It’s no surprise that the over is 15-5-1 in their last 21 games at US Airways Center. While the Heat struggled shooting the ball in their last outing, that was a one off more than anything else as they had averaged a shade under 106 points in their previous nine outings. I see another shootout coming tonight.

Pick
Over 208.5

Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs

The Miami Heat head home to try and force a Game 7 against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night. The Heat are -7 point favorites over the Spurs with an over/under point total set at 190.
The Heat are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games following a S.U. loss and 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games following a ATS loss. The Spurs on the other hand are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 NBA Championship game, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
This series is destined to go to a Game 7, but can Miami cover the seven point spread? Recent history would suggest yes as 11 of their 14 postseason victories thus far have been by double digits, telling us that when the Heat win, they win big.
I’m trying to look for reasons as to why I should take the Spurs in Game 6, but I just can’t. Everything is pointing towards Miami and I could just see another one of these games stay close for the first half, then the home team goes on a run (Miami), which then turns into a blowout. I dunno, this might be the close battle we all expect, but I doubt it.

Pick
Miami Heat -7 San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat

The series shifts to San Antonio as the Spurs look to slow down Lebron James and the Miami Heat in Game 3 on Wednesday night. The Spurs are -2 point favorites over the Heat with an over/under point total set at 187.5.
The Spurs are 15-6-1 ATS in their last 22 games following a SU loss of more than 10 points and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 NBA Championship games, but just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600. The Heat on the other hand are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record, 20-6 ATS in their last 26 road games and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 NBA Championship games.
If I’m a Spurs fan, I’m not that worried about what transpired in Game 2 because you still achieved what you set out to do which was taking one of the first two games of this series on the road. Miami raced away with a 103-84 victory on Sunday night and even though the stats look alarming, I think it was more a case of the Heat playing with their backs to the wall and getting good contributions from the guys like Mike Miller, Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers, who combined to score 41 points on 8-12 from beyond the arc. Once the Heat caught fire in that third quarter, it was all downhill from there for the visitors.
While the Spurs looked ordinary in Game 2, let’s not forget this was a team that had just won seven straight games, which included going 6-1 against the spread in that time period. On the other hand, Miami looked awesome in their first game in Indiana against the Pacers, running away with a 114-96 win in Game 3, yet that was a contest in which there were coming off a Game 2 loss at home. When you look at the Heat’s other two road games in that series, they resulted in seven and 14 point defeats.
Simply put, I think the San Antonio Spurs bounce back in Game 2. I think we get much better games from Duncan and Parker this time around and while I could see Ray Allen being a factor again, I doubt we see the same input from Chalmers and Miller. I think Game 4 is anybody’s game, but this one will belong to the home team.

Pick
San Antonio Spurs -2 Miami Heat

Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs

The Miami Heat squares off against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 on the NBA Finals on Thursday night from South Beach. The Heat are -5 point favorites over the Spurs with an over/under point total set at 187.5.
The Heat are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 NBA Championship games and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games playing on 2 days rest, but just 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. win. The Spurs on the other hand are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 NBA Championship games and 33-16-2 ATS in their last 51 vs. Eastern Conference.
Even though Oklahoma City finished the regular season with the best record out West, we clearly have the two best teams in each conference going head-to-head in the NBA finals with the Lebron James led Miami Heat squaring off against the veteran savvy San Antonio Spurs. While the Heat breezed through the first two rounds of the playoffs, winning eight of nine games, they faced a much stiffer test in the Eastern Conference finals against the Indiana Pacers, who took them to a deciding Game 7, which turned out to be a blowout in the end anyway. On the other hand, the Spurs got a scare from the up and coming Golden State Warriors in the Quarter Finals, however, they looked downright dominate in their other two series, sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies.
As far as the regular season goes, Miami won both meetings this season and have actually won the last four overall. However, you can’t look too much into those games, especially from this season. The first showdown in Miami was that infamous game where Gregg Popovich decided to rest his stars and funnily enough, the Spurs nearly ended up winning anyway, but went down in the end 105-100. In their most recent meeting back in late March, it was Miami who rested their stars as Lebron James and Dwayne Wade didn’t make the trip out West, however, the Heat still came away with an impressive 88-86 victory thanks to a late three by Chris Bosh.
While the Heat aren’t going to have a long layoff like they did in previous rounds, it will be interesting to see how Game 1 plays out considering they didn’t look great in their opening games against Chicago and Indiana. You could make the case that the long layoff will effect the Spurs, but I don’t see that happening with the coaching staff they have over there. I think the Spurs will be ready to go and I see this being a close series throughout. It’s also going to be interesting to see how San Antonio approaches defending Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, considering they struggled by their standards against the Pacers. If the Spurs were able to take Zack Randolph out of their series all together, I can’t wait to see what they can come up with against Miami.
It might sound simple, but taking the point always seems like the way to go in the opening game. Miami could continue their momentum from their Game 7 pounding of the Pacers, but I just don’t see it. Look for San Antonio to keep this one close enough.

Pick
San Antonio Spurs +5 Miami Heat

Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers

The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers collide in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday night from South Beach. The Heat are -7.5 point favorites over the Pacers with an over/under point total set at 181.
The Heat are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a S.U. loss, but just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall. The Pacers on the other hand are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Conference Finals games, 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record and 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games overall.
For all intense purposes, this series deserved to go to a Game 7. Roy Hibbert scored 24 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead his Indiana Pacers to a 91-77 victory at home on Saturday night to even the series at three games apiece to book a trip back to Miami for a Game 7. Paul George finished proceedings with 28 points, eight rebounds and five assists as the Pacers held the Heat to 36.1% shooting for the game. Lebron James led the way for Miami with 29 points, but he didn’t get any help from his teammates as they went just 16-51 from the field (31.4%)
I can’t really say I was surprised with the way Game 6 played out. It was pretty much a reverse of Game 5 when Lebron James outscored the entire Indiana team in the third quarter 16-13. Yet, this time, it was the Pacers who pulled away after the major break, outscoring the visitors 29-15 to build a commanding lead. The Heat would make it close again in the fourth, but the Pacers pulled away one last time to run away with a 14 point victory.
If the trend continues, then the Miami Heat should run out comfortable winners tonight. After the first two games of this series were decided by a total of five points, we have seen the last four meetings get decided by an average winning margin of 12.5 points. As far as totals go, the first four games all went over, however, Games 5 & 6 both went under the total.
While I’m aware that Lebron James could go off again like he did in Game 5 in Miami, I just think that Indiana has shown enough in this series and they have played well enough not to put up a good showing tonight. It might sound basic, but this series feels like it’s going to get decided in the final minutes, so I’m comfortable taking the points in this one.

Pick
Indiana Pacers +7.5 Miami Heat

Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls

The Miami Heat looks to bounce back in Game 2 against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. The Heat are -12 point favorites over the Bulls with an over/under point total set at 187.5.
The Heat are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games following a S.U. loss, 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 Conference Semifinals games, 6-2 ATS in their last 8 vs. NBA Central and 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games overall. The Bulls on the other hand are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Conference Semifinals games and 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win.
When was the last time you saw over 70% of the action against the Miami Heat, let alone in a playoff game? Well, that’s what happening in the early action for Game 2 after the Chicago Bulls performance in opening game of the series on Monday night. Make no mistake about it, the Bulls stunned the Heat in Game 1, running away with a 93-86 victory thanks to a big fourth quarter which saw them score the last 10 points of the game. Nate Robinson once again led the way by scoring a game-high 27 points and dishing out nine assists while Jimmy Butler added 21 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Miami, who clearly looked rusty after such a long lay-off, shot just 39% from the floor and only had two players finish the game in double-digits in Lebron James and Dwayne Wade.
The Game 1 win for Chicago was probably the most impressive win of the playoffs thus far considering that Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich didn’t even play in the game. The Heat didn’t look like themselves, but all the credit has to go to the Bulls here.
I’m going to surprise a lot of people here and take the Heat in Game 2. Yes, the Bulls looked good in Game 1 and they were the team that stopped Miami’s 27-game winning streak, but here me out. Chicago was blown out in a lot of games this season and even two of their losses in their series against the Nets were by 19 points or greater. Also, don’t forget that the Heat’s last three wins over the Bulls have come at an average of 14 points per game.
I could be completely wrong here, but I just think Miami responds in a big way in Game 2. I also don’t like that fact that most of the public are with Chicago here and too be honest, taking the +12 seems just a little bit too easy.

Pick
Miami Heat -12 Chicago Bulls

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat

Lebron James and the Miami Heat seek their 21st straight victory tonight as they head to Milwaukee to face the Bucks. The Heat are -6.5 point favorites over the Bucks with an over/under point total set at 203.
Head to head, the Heat are 1-6 ATS in the last 7 meetings while the underdog is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings. The Bucks are 6-17 ATS in their last 23 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600, 18-37 ATS in their last 55 home games and 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games overall. The Heat on the other hand are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record, 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games playing on 1 days rest and 7-1 ATS in their last 8 road games.
For whatever reason, the Milwaukee Bucks are one of the rare teams in the NBA that have given the Miami Heat trouble over the last couple of seasons. Not only did they defeat Miami 104-85 in their last meeting in Milwaukee earlier this season, but the Bucks have also won four of the last six meetings straight up, which is surprising given Milwaukee has been a non-playoff team in what seems like forever now. In their first showdown of the season in Miami, the Heat needed overtime to dispatch the visitors as they came away with a 113-106 win. Milwaukee has also covered in both meetings this season and six of the last seven overall.
As far as individual form goes, the Bucks are coming off disappointing losses to Dallas and Washington and when it comes to coving the spread, Milwaukee has been one of the worst teams in the league over the last couple of months. The Heat on the other hand don’t really need any introduction as they have won 20 on the trot, but they are coming off a hard fought 98-94 win in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
It’s always tough going against the Miami Heat, especially when they are riding such a massive winning streak, but I just can’t ignore the fact that they have struggled against Milwaukee for the last two seasons. I’m going to take my chances with the home team in this one.

Pick
Milwaukee Bucks +6.5 Miami Heat

Miami Heat vs. Houston Rockets

Lebron James and the Miami Heat welcome James Harden and the Houston Rockets to town on Wednesday night. The Heat are -8 point favorites over the Rockets with an over/under point total set at 206.
The Heat are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 vs. Western Conference, but just 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record. The Rockets on the other hand are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall, but just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 0 days rest and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 road games.
How can you not love the over in this game? In case you missed it, the Rockets tied an NBA record and set a franchise mark with 23 3-pointers en route to a 140-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors last night. While you can’t base taking the over off one game, consider that Houston is averaging 120 points per game over their last five starts and are only second in the NBA in scoring to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Not only that, but they are the third worst defensive team in the league as well, meaning they only care about one thing and that’s scoring the ball.
While Miami are generally regarded as a defensive first team, that’s not really the case this season as they are averaging 102.3 points per game, which is the sixth best mark in the league. They do own the league’s 12th best defense, but that’s nothing to ride home about. Like most teams, the Heat score more points when playing in-front of their home crowd and are averaging 106.5 points when playing in South Beach.
If you wanted more evidence to take the over here, consider that these teams combined to score 223 points in their first meeting of the season back in the middle of November. Not only that, but three of the last four meetings have gone over that 223 point mark. Unless both teams just come out and stink it up, I just don’t see how this game goes under.

Pick
Over 206

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