The Miami Heat travel to LA tonight to face the Clippers in what could be a dress rehearsal for this season's Finals, writes Unibet columnist Mark Woods...
Los Angles Clippers 1.75, Miami Heat 2.10 – BET and STREAM on Unibet TV from 03.35 GMT
The Miami Heat are the 3.60 favourites for the NBA title. The Los Angeles Clippers well-placed at 12.00. And we will get a small glimpse at how that battle might go if they square off eventually in this season’s Finals when they clash on Wednesday at Staples Center.
It’s not quite a preview, as long as the Clippers – who are favoured by -1.5 on the handicap - are without Chris Paul. But the hosts, even in his prolonged absence, are 20-3 on their own floor where they haven’t lost to Miami since 2007.
It’s a key spell for the Clippers as they pursue top seed in the Western Conference, with five home games in a row coming up, but they also have Toronto, Portland and San Antonio paying a visit.
Blake Griffin, who has averaged 26.4 points over LA’s last ten games, scored 27 when the Heat, sparked by 29 from Dwyane Wade, won 102-97 when these sides met in Miami in November.
Of late, however, both sides have been piling up the points at the expense of defence and taking over the total points line of 208.5 at 1.90 seems a solid bet. But it could come down to whether someone other than Griffin or LeBron James can step up and make a telling impact.
New York Knicks 2.08, Portland Trail Blazers 1.75 - BET and STREAM on Unibet TV from 01.05 GMT
Will the real New York Knicks stand up? The one which was shooting the lights out and blowing out opponents rather than the one which lost tamely to the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this week.
Yet the Portland Trail Blazers, who visit Madison Square Garden, have their own problems with just five wins from their last ten and a road slump that has seen them lose four in success out of state.
Portland, who average 108.0 points per game over the season, have only cracked 90 in one of their last four – all losses – with major struggles from long range.
The Blazers are 1.80 for the win but adventurous odds of 4.10 are available in going under 194.5 total points.
Best bet: Take Miami to defeat the LA Clippers at 2.02.