It took a while for the NBA odds lines to be released, but they finally have been and the number has opened with Miami favored by seven points. We are almost positive that line will keep rising as we near tipoff, especially if Chris Bosh and Ray Allen are able to go.
The O/U has been installed at 204, with the UNDER having hit the mark in five straight encounters between these cross-conference rivals.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are actually playing some of their best basketball of the season, having gone 7-2 SU over their last nine games.
Two nights ago they roared back to beat Charlotte 100-93 on the road. Down by 20 at one point, L.A. turned it on in the second half, with Kobe Bryant leading the charge.
Kobe finished with 20 points (6-of-15 FG), eight assists and seven rebounds, while both Dwight howard and Earl Clark posted double-doubles. Steve Nash contributed 17 points and seven assists and Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison had solid games off the bench.
Despite this little resurgence, we don't want to get too carried away. Wins over the likes of Charlotte, New Orleans and Minnesota are hardly anything to write home about.
When watching the Lakers, it doesn't take long to see the pressing issues. They've been moving the ball around much better offensively, but this team is a complete mess on the defensive end. They are clueless in transition and tend to get lazy on the glass as well.
Things couldn't be going better for Miami on this home-stand. They've gone 3-0 SU, the latest victory by 22 points over the L.A. Clippers.
It didn't matter that Chris Bosh and Ray Allen were both absent because of the flu. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade banded together to account for 50 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, even though neither played logged more than 32 minutes. They were fantastic.
The role players were great too. Shane Battier hit four threes, Mario Chalmers had 18 points, and the likes of Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Chris Andersen and Rashard Lewis all made contributions as well.
We can't talk about the Heat without mentioning how ridiculous LeBron has been lately. He's playing pretty much perfect basketball at the moment and his offensive efficiency has been off the charts good.
You know he's going to be at his very best today too. He seems to save his best for these matchups with the high-profile teams and relishes going up against guys like Kobe. Expect another special performance out of LeBron.
There's no chance we're backing the Lakers. Even though they've been playing a little better these days, they're still a dismal 9-17 SU and 9-16-1 ATS on the road this season.
Considering, for the most part, L.A. has been quite awful defensively, especially in transition, this one could get out of hand in a hurry. The Heat are one of the league's best teams on the fast break, and we should see plenty of easy finishes for LeBron and D-Wade this afternoon.
Simply put, you don't want to mess with the Heat at home. They're 21-3 SU overall and haven't lost inside American Airlines Arena since January 4 against Chicago.
Even with the statuses of Chris Bosh and Ray Allen up in the air again, we have to roll with the far more cohesive team for today's NBA picks, which is Miami... regardless of how many points they're laying.
Free Picks: Miami Heat -7Eastern Conference Betting Update