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Heat, Rockets: NBA Betting

The Miami Heat have been a popular pick in NBA betting circles of late, and that won’t change when they visit the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.

LeBron James and the Heat have heated up in NBA betting, beating the spread 11 times during their recent 14-1 run. On Christmas Day, they were 3.5-point underdogs visiting the Lakers at Bovada and Bovada but they prevailed and then some, winning 96-80.

Much has been made of the Big Three’s turnaround; LeBron James has assumed his comfortable No. 1 role, Dwyane Wade has taken a backseat to become the secondary scorer, and Chris Bosh is the clear-cut third offensive option. But the real secret to Miami’s success is defense. The Miami Heat are first in the NBA in scoring defense, opposing field goal percentage, and opposing three-point percentage.

The Houston Rockets have played good basketball of late, winning five straight games. Kevin Martin and Luis Scola have formed a formidable offensive tandem for the league’s fifth-highest scoring team. But bettors should tread carefully on Wednesday. Houston’s five straight wins came against Memphis, Sacramento, Golden State, the L.A. Clippers, and Washington. Schedules don’t come easier than that. Miami will be a serious step up in competition.

After a Tuesday battle with the Miami Heat, the New York Knicks have another tough matchup against the Orlando Magic on the road Thursday night. The Knicks’ eight-game winning streak became a three-game losing streak earlier in December but, through Monday’s games, the Knicks had a two-game winning streak started up.

The New York Knicks have been one of the best bets in the league this season, going 20-9-1 against the spread, including 12-3 ATS on the road through Monday. On Christmas Day, they covered a 2.5-point spread at Bovada and Bovada to topple the Chicago Bulls 103-95.

Team chemistry has been key for New York this season; the new pieces have fit like gloves. Amare Stoudemire has emerged as an MVP candidate, averaging 26.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, Raymond Felton has been a huge addition in his own right, averaging 18.3 points, two steals and 9.1 assists through Monday night.

But will Stoudemire meet his match in Dwight Howard when the Knicks battle the Orlando Magic on Thursday? Howard, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, leads the Magic in points, rebounds, field-goal percentage, steals and blocks. The Magic have made a major statement of late, knocking off powerhouses Boston and San Antonio last week while covering the NBA betting spread in both those victories.

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