MAGIC vs HEAT
Time: Thursday 7 ET
Venue: American Airlines Arena, Miami
Spread: Magic -2.5
Orlando: 48-21 SU, 36-30-3 ATS
Miami: 35-33 SU, 35-32-1 ATS
The Bulls’ slip-slide into oblivion has made things nice and comfy for the Miami Heat. A few weeks ago the Heat closed out the month of February with four straight losses, and it looked like an early summer for Dwyane Wade and the boys. But 6 wins in 8 games this month have dovetailed nicely with 9 straight Chicago losses, and the teams have basically flip-flopped in the standings.
Even better for Miami, the final 12 games of the season will be played against teams with non-winning records. Miami would gladly take a split in the next 2 (Orlando tonight, then Charlotte) before starting to beat up on a bunch of teams that will be in full tanking mode.
Miami’s benevolent home stretch will enable the Heat to keep a playoff date with one of the East’s Big Four (Cleveland, Orlando, Atlanta or Boston), but there are some things that need to be tightened up if Miami has any chance of avoiding a one-and-done playoff series:
***Michael Beasley missed a few games with a bruised thigh, but is back playing if not quite at 100 percent.
***Wade is throwing bricks from 3-point territory. If that continues in the playoffs, teams will pack it in and let him fire away.
***Jermaine O’Neal and Dorell Wright are having trouble staying on the court – O’Neal was suspended for a game for grabbing Philly’s Samuel Dalembert around the neck, and Wright was sat down by the team after being arrested for drunken driving.
The Heat’s limitations were on display on Tuesday when they were manhandled at home by the Spurs, evidence that there is a large dropoff between the 7th-best team in the Western Conference and the 7th-best team in the East.
Miami is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Miami’s last 7 games at home
Miami is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Miami’s last 8 games
Orlando is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games
Orlando is 13-3 SU in its last 16 games when playing Miami
Orlando is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Orlando is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games when playing on the road against Miami
Thursday Night Best Parlay Pick
There is a bit of a rivalry among the two Florida teams, but nothing too serious. Orlando has shown signs that it is not too interested in playing with Cleveland-type intensity, and the Magic are pretty much locked into the No. 2 seed in the East.
Miami needs this one a little more, so the Heat +2.5 would be a possible play.
The Nuggets have 7 wins in the last 8 games, finishing fast for the second straight year.
But 14 is a thick line, and the over looks more enticing as both teams have scored in double figures regularly since the All-Star break.
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