You might want to put down a few dollars on the Miami Heat to win the Eastern Conference, which is currently priced at solid +1200 value at BetOnline. Do I think the Heat as currently constructed can beat the Cleveland Cavaliers? I don't. But if Chris Bosh can return from his blood clot problem, then I could see that because the Cavs look vulnerable. Bosh said Thursday his problem is clearing up and that he's hopeful to return this season, although doctors have yet to clear him. Joe Johnson has made a tremendous impact on the team, and Bosh hasn't even played with him yet. You throw out a starting five of Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Johnson, Bosh and Hassan Whiteside (with Luol Deng off the bench) and that matches up pretty well with Cleveland's starting five. In fact, I'd give the Cavs the edge only at point guard (Kyrie Irving) and small forward (LeBron James). A key for Miami is to get the No. 3 seed, currently held by Boston, and avoid the Cavs until the conference finals.
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Pacers at Mavericks (-2, 205)
Rare matinee in Dallas with a 2 p.m. ET start. Indiana won a second straight Monday with a 99-91 home upset of San Antonio. Monta Ellis had 26 points and Paul George 23. Ty Lawson made his Indiana debut but only played five minutes before spraining his foot. It was the Pacers' second win in 17 meetings with the Spurs since 2008. Pretty rare for a team to get four days off in the middle of the season like Indiana will have here. Dallas could fall to .500 with a loss as it has dropped a season-high four straight games, three at home. On Wednesday it was 102-96 against Detroit. The Mavericks are in a stretch with nine out of 10 games at home, but they have gone 4-5 in that time. Indiana won the first meeting 107-81 on Dec. 16, the Pacers' largest margin of victory ever in the series. They have won three straight against the Mavs overall.
Key trends: The Pacers are 9-2 against the spread in the past 11 meetings. The "over/under" is 10-3 in the past 13 overall.
Early lean: These odd start times hugely favor the home team. Dallas and over.
Rockets at Hornets (-4.5, 216.5)
Houston was in Boston on Friday and Charlotte hosted Detroit. The Rockets beat the Hornets 102-95 on Dec. 21. The teams combined for 60 fouls and 72 free throw attempts. James Harden had 36 points. Al Jefferson was out then for the Hornets. Houston has won 10 straight in the series and four in a row in Charlotte.
Key trends: The home team is 6-1-1 ATS in the past eight meetings. The under is 5-0 in the past five in Charlotte.
Early lean: Hornets didn't have to travel, which is an advantage. Take them.
Pistons at 76ers (+9, 209)
Detroit was in Charlotte on Friday and Philly hosted Brooklyn with Jahlil Okafor out again. The Pistons are 3-0 against the 76ers this season. Reggie Jackson is averaging 21.7 points against Philly in those wins. Detroit is just 3-6 in its past nine trips to the City of Brotherly Love, however.
Key trends: The home team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 9-4 in the previous 13.
Early lean: 76ers and under.
Heat at Raptors (-6, 199)
Miami was in Chicago on Friday. Toronto won a second straight Thursday, 104-96 over Atlanta. DeMar DeRozan had 30 points and five rebounds. Jonas Valanciunas had 10 points and 10 rebounds, his career-high 16th straight game scoring in double figures and team-best 16th double-double of the season. This is the final meeting between these two, although I could see them potentially facing off in the Eastern Conference semifinals if the Heat can get to the No. 3 seed. Toronto leads 2-1 -- all three have been blowouts -- but still is only 4-17 in the past 21 meetings.
Key trends: The favorite is 9-3 ATS in the past 12 meetings. The over is 4-0 in Toronto's past four on Saturday.
Early lean: Raptors and under.
Grizzlies at Hawks (TBA)
Memphis hosted New Orleans on Friday with both Mike Conley and Zach Randolph questionable again and with guard Mario Chalmers now out for the season -- and then waived. It sound like Conley is going to miss quite a while longer. Atlanta had a three-game winning streak end in a 104-96 defeat in Toronto on Thursday. After forcing 11 Toronto turnovers in the first half, Atlanta only forced four more. The Hawks beat the Grizzlies 116-101 on Nov. 27. Paul Millsap had 23 points and 14 rebounds. Conley led Memphis with 16 points but was 4-for-13 from the field. The Grizz still had Marc Gasol then. He's out for the season.
Key trends: The underdog is 7-3 ATS in the past 10 meetings. The under is 6-2 in Atlanta's past eight.
Early lean: Grizz are banged-up and in second of a back-to-back. Should be an easy Hawks win.
Pelicans at Bucks (-3.5, 211)
New Orleans was in Memphis on Friday. Milwaukee ended a two-game slide with a 114-108 home win over Miami on Wednesday. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 24 points and Jabari Parker added 23. Greg Monroe, who came off the bench for 12 straight games, was back in the starting lineup. Guard O.J. Mayo missed the game with a stomach bug and then fell down the stairs Thursday morning and broke his ankle. He's done for the year. The Pelicans beat the Bucks 116-99 on Jan. 23. Anthony Davis had 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists. That was the Bucks' final game under interim coach Joe Prunty before Jason Kidd returned from hip surgery. Milwaukee has lost six in a row in the series.
Key trends: The Pelicans are 8-2 ATS in the past 10 meetings. The over is 4-1 in the past five.
Early lean: Bucks and over.
Thunder at Spurs (-7.5, 213.5)
This is your ABC Saturday Primetime Game and will have live betting at sportsbooks. I wish both teams were on equal rest to give the Thunder a realistic chance of handing the Spurs their first home loss, but OKC hosted Minnesota on Friday. San Antonio beat Chicago 109-101 on Thursday to improve to 31-0 at home. Kawhi Leonard had 29 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 10 rebounds. The Spurs have won 40 straight at home dating to last regular season. Kevin Martin, recently signed off waivers from Minnesota, made his Spurs debut and played eight minutes. These teams have met just once, and that was in their opener. The Thunder won 112-106 at home. Russell Westbrook gave Billy Donovan a win in his NBA debut with 33 points and seven assists. Kevin Durant had 22. Leonard led the Spurs, who were up by seven at one point in the fourth quarter, with 32 points.
Key trends: The Thunder are 1-4 ATS in the past five in San Antonio. The over is 4-1 in the past five meetings overall.
Early lean: Spurs and over.
Wizards at Nuggets (TBA)
Washington was in Utah on Friday with Bradley Beal questionable. So the Wizards go from the city at the second-highest altitude in the NBA to the one with the most just 24 hours later. Guess which way I'll lean here? Denver won a third straight on Thursday, 116-98 over Phoenix. Rookie Emmanuel Mudiay had a career-high 30 points. He's averaging 21.6 points over the past five and starting to show why he was the preseason Rookie of the Year favorite at some books. Denver won in Washington 117-113 on Jan. 28. Danilo Gallinari had 26 points but is now out for the season. John Wall had 17 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.
Key trends: The home team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The over has hit in five of the previous eight meetings.
Early lean: Uh, Nuggets.
Suns at Warriors (-21, 226.5)
Golden State hosted Portland on Friday. I will be shocked -- shocked! -- if Steve Kerr doesn't rest a guy or two here against the sorry Suns. It may not be Steph Curry, because that's what all the fans come to see, but someone's going to sit. Andrew Bogut? Draymond Green? Both? Phoenix was routed in Denver on Thursday for its second straight loss. One bright spot this season has been the play of rookie Devin Booker, and he had 35 points. Suns point guard Brandon Knight played for the first time since Jan. 19 and had 10 points in 25 minutes. The Warriors have won three high-scoring games vs. the Suns this season and taken six straight overall vs. Phoenix.
Key trends: The Suns are 2-6 ATS in the past eight in Oakland. The over is 13-5 in the past 18 there.
Early lean: Biggest spread of the year. Take all those points. And go under that crazy total.
Magic at Trail Blazers (TBA)
Orlando was in Sacramento, catching a break with DeMarcus Cousins suspended, and Portland at Golden State on Friday. The Magic beat the Blazers 102-94 on Dec. 18. Tobias Harris (25 points, 12 rebounds) and Nikola Vucevic (25/11) each had double-doubles for the Magic. Vucevic was questionable for Friday after missing the previous two games so he may not go here. Harris is now in Detroit. Damian Lillard was held to 19 in that first meeting for the Blazers. Portland has won five of its past six games against the Magic at the Moda Center.
Key trends: The Magic are 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The under is 3-1-1 in the past five.
Early lean: Wait to see what Portland does Friday. If Blazers somehow win in Oakland or even stay very close, bet on the Magic here. Would be a huge letdown game.
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