Orlando Magic vs. Miami Heat Preview and Pick – Point Spread – Betting Odds

Orlando Heat (48-21 SU 34-30-4 ATS) vs. Miami Heat (35-33 34-34 ATS) American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL 7 PM EST Thursday March 18, 2010 on TNT
By Jason Green at Predictem.com

Point Spread: Magic -3 / Heat +3
Over/Under: 187

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Tonight in an Eastern Conference match up in the Sunshine State the Miami Heat host the Orlando Magic. The Magic have been playing great basketball and are coming off a win and are 9-1 in their last 10 games.

The Heat are coming off a loss and 6-4 in their last 10 games and every game is important for them in the standings. Currently Miami is in the 7th position in the East with only a 1 game lead over Toronto and only game back of Charlotte. The Heat would really love to move up to, at least, the 6th position in the conference so they would not have to face Cleveland or Orlando in the 1st round of the playoffs.

If the season were over today tonight’s match up would be the 1st round playoff match up.

This season the Heat are 20-15 at home and the Magic are 20-14 on the road.

One of the reasons the Magic have been winning is the solid play of SF Vince Carter (16.6 ppg), who has been mired in a season-long shooting slump. However, in his last 10 games he is averaging 19 ppg on 54.6% shooting.

One of Miami’s main weaknesses is their inside play, as they have no real legit big man to speak of and that is not good with Dwight Howard coming to town. However, Jermaine O’Neal has played well against the new Superman holding Howard to 12 ppg and 11.7 rpg, which are both below his season averages, in 3 games this season.

Dwayne Wade (26.5 ppg) is averaging just over 30 ppg in his last 8 games, but he will need some help on offense tonight. Michael Beasley (15.2 ppg) could be that guy, but he is just back from injury and in his last game against the Magic he only had 1 point and 2 rebounds after averaging 18.5 ppg and 10 rpg in his first 2 games against Orlando this season.

The Heat were less than on fire losing 88-76 last night at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. The high scorer for Miami in the game was Wade going for 28 points, but he was only 11/26 from the floor. For the game the Heat did not shoot well going 30/78 for a FG% of 38.5%. On D the Heat allowed the Spurs to shoot 34/76 for a FG% of 44.7%.

The Magic also played the Spurs in their last game, but smoked them 110-84 on Tuesday night. Orlando’s high scorer in the game was Vince Carter going for 24 points on 7/11 shooting including hitting 3 of his 4 3-point bombs. For the game the Magic shot well going 37/71 for a FG% of 52.1%. On defense the Magic held the Spurs to 34/80 shooting for a FG% of 42.5%.

This season the Magic rank 10th in the league in scoring (101.9 ppg) and the Heat only rank 26th (96.2 ppg). On defense both of these teams are solid, as the Magic rank 3rd in opponents’ points allowed (95 ppg) and the Heat are right behind them ranking 4th (95.1 ppg). Orlando has been a little better on the boards this season, as they have a rebounding differential of +2.9 rpg and the Heat are at +0.6 rpg.

According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Magic rank 3rd (95.35) and the Heat rank 14th (90.98).

Miami is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog, and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 1 days rest.

Miami has an Over record of 6-1 in their last 7 home games, an Over record of 6-2 in their last 8 games, and an Under record of 4-0 in their last 4 games as an underdog of 0.5-4.5.

Orlando is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games as a road favorite and 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning record.

Orlando has an Under record of 22-6-1 in their last 29 games as a favorite and an Under record of 15-6 in their last 21 road games.

On the injury front SF Mickael Pietrus and SF Matt Barnes are day-to-day for Orlando and PG Mario Chalmers is day-to-day for Miami.

Jason’s Pick: Miami covers and wins straight up!