NBA Betting – Orlando Magic @ Miami Heat Odds, Free Picks and Predictions – NBA Picks and Odds 2/19/12: Southeast Division rivals will meet Sunday afternoon on ABC, when the Orlando Magic (20-11) head to South Beach to take on the Miami Heat (23-7). Both franchises are looking like locks to make the playoffs, but as far as a division title goes, Miami is beginning to create some separation. The Heat has a four-game lead on second-place Orlando, and if the Magic plan on sneaking up and winning the Southeast crown, beating Miami head to head is a must. Of course, knocking off the team with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference is easier said than done, and Orlando is a 9 ½-point underdog in Sunday’s showdown.
The game is a rematch of a February 8 meeting that the Magic won 102-89. Orlando hit 17 3-pointers in the game, which were more than enough to overcome 33 points from Miami’s Dwyane Wade. That being said, the meeting was the first game of a six-game road trip for the Heat, and Miami hasn’t lost since. Orlando has won four in a row in its own right, but Miami is 12-2 on its home court this season, while the Magic is just 8-5 on the road.
For Orlando, the magic number is 90 points. The Magic has lost just a single game when scoring 90 or more points this season but has won just a single game when scoring fewer than 90 points. Miami is allowing just over 94 points per game to opponents this year, which puts Orlando very much in the danger zone when it comes to reaching the 90-point mark. With the Heat averaging an NBA-best 103.4 points per game this season, the chances of the Magic winning without reaching at least 90 are about as slim as they can get.
While the Magic are loaded with 3-point gunners like Jason Richardson, J.J. Redick and Hedo Turkoglu, Orlando can’t count on another 17 3-pointers to carry the load. Hot shooting nights like that simply don’t happen very often, and they happen even less on the road. However, one advantage Orlando has that should stay consistent is center Dwight Howard. For all the star power Miami possesses, the Heat doesn’t have a dominant big man. Howard went for more than 20 points and more than 20 boards in Orlando’s win earlier this month, and he should be in line for another monster stat line.
Of course, Orlando doesn’t have the perimeter defenders to contain Wade and LeBron James. The Magic relies on Howard cleaning up mistakes with his shot blocking ability, but Wade and James are two of the best finishers in the game. As mentioned earlier, Wade did his part in the first meeting, but James had an uncharacteristically off night. Considering he is averaging 28.0 points and shooting a career-high 54.6 percent from the field this season, a second poor performance against the Magic probably isn’t going to happen.
Despite the outcome of the first meeting between the division rivals, all the stats point to Miami having the edge. The Heat is the highest-scoring team in the league, playing an Orlando team that has been downright ugly on offense at times. Howard will likely dominate the boards once again, but he is only averaging just over 20 points a game. With James, Wade and Chris Bosh combining for almost 69 points a game, Miami’s firepower on offense will likely be too much for Orlando to handle in South Beach.
Prediction: Miami Heat (-9 ½) Covers the Spread
Current Odds: Favorite – Miami -9 Total – OVER/UNDER 192
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