There is a rematch brewing in NBA betting action on Thursday night in a nationally televised clash on TNT. The Miami Heat will continue to seek out revenge for their NBA Finals defeat at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks when the two meet in South Beach on Thursday.
The Mavericks are playing well at the moment, and they are coming into this one fresh off of a home-and-home sweep of the Houston Rockets. There is still a level of doubt there as to whether the champs are going to get into the playoffs or not. Dallas isn’t going to run down the San Antonio Spurs atop the Southwest Division, and it is going to need to come up with a big run down the stretch to hold off the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets from behind. The team is just two games clear of playoff safety right now with just 15 games left to be played. Needless to say, a split in the Sunshine State against the Heat and the Orlando Magic on back-to-back nights would really help. It is going to take the defense coming up strong in this one to have a shot at the upset. This is the unit that propelled the Mavs to the title, and their equation for winning right now seems to be relatively simple. Since February 9th, when they have given up 100 points in a game, they are 0-4 SU and ATS. When they have given up 99 points or fewer, they are 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS, and that includes a road win at the Denver Nuggets and a home win over the aforementioned Spurs.
Everything just seems to be going wrong right now for the Heat. They have lost two games in a row, and they are going to be playing this one with LeBron James nursing a dislocated finger. Their offense has gone flat, posting 99 points or fewer in six games in a row. Though the defense carried them to victory in the first four, these last two in which they have conceded 103 and 105 points, they haven’t been able to succeed. Winning the Southeast Division isn’t nearly a guarantee at this point with the Orlando Magic just 4.5 games back, but if Miami wants to capture the league’s best record, meaning running down the Chicago Bulls, this is the type of game that it has to win. The good news for the Heat is that they are back at home for this one. Those bad losses came on the road in back-to-back nights, and as long as they don’t get caught up in the fact that they have to take a long road trip to the Air Canada Centre tomorrow to take on the Toronto Raptors, they really should be okay in this one.
The Final Word: It just feels like the Heat need to make a statement to the rest of the league. They are going to be taking on the team that took them away from their glory a season ago, and they seem to have the deck stacked against them. If Miami can come on national television in a relatively light night in the NBA and post a major victory over the Mavs, it will definitely send a message to the rest of the league that this team is back, and it might be better than it has ever been.
Dallas Mavericks @ Miami Heat Free Pick: Miami Heat -8
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.