The Miami Heat are red hot right now. And as their would-be challengers out West continue to stumble, the reigning champions are providing every sign that they’re ready to make a charge towards their second successive title.
The Heat, now 2.50 favourites to come out on top this season, can make it ten wins in a row on Saturday night if they beat the Philadelphia 76ers for the 15th time in 16 meetings. Miami's past defensive brilliance made an ominous reappearance when they held Chicago to 67 on Thursday but they’ve also been an offensive machine, averaging 105 points during their current streak.
That sort of form should scare the Sixers, who have lost their last three while failing to score more than 92 points in their last eight. Philly are +7 on the handicap at 1.91 but the Heat have made a habit of inflicting heavy losses lately, and that should push the total points above the line of 184.5.
The Los Angeles Clippers must bounce back from their heaviest loss of the season tonight when they host the Utah Jazz. The Clips were dismantled 116-90 by San Antonio as their defence crumbled on their first game in a week.
They’ll be a little better prepared to face the Jazz, who have lost the three prior meetings between these teams this season. But Utah have won their last three games, including impressive victories over Golden State and Oklahoma City. Plus they’ll benefit in the short-term from standing pat at the trade deadline despite rumoured offers for Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. So while the Clippers have the tools to prevail, take a punt on their guests on the handicap of +9 at 1.91.
Bet of the day: Take Miami on the handicap over Philadelphia