There’s a couple key NBA matchups over the weekend worth considering for gambling opportunities. Miami at Chicago on Saturday and Orlando at Boston on Sunday afternoon. I’m picking these because I see them as upset opportunities, and ones that should pay off nicely if you’re willing to take a chance.
First up, the Heat bring their 24-26 record to the nearly identical 23-24 Bulls’ arena. Chicago has been on a tear the last few weeks, shedding long-standing fears this season that the show we all saw during the playoffs last year was a distant memory. And you can expect the Bulls to be favored by 4 or 5 in this game. Everyone loves Derrick Rose now (for good reason), but I’ll give you two good reasons why you should consider betting the Heat, Rose being one of them. He can’t keep up the pace for much longer despite his talent and his youth. Even Jordan had off nights. Compound that with my second reason of Noah being shut down until after the all-star break, and you’ll start to question whether the Bulls are really the favorite here. Unless Rose puts up 30, where is the rest of the scoring going to come from? Somebody might step up, but there’s no Ben Gordon to offer a consistent second option this year. Plus, the rebounding will suffer with Noah on the bench, so the offense will have to work that much harder, and make the most of every possession, to pull out a victory that covers the spread. Bet the Heat.
The big-ticket weekend basketball matchup is the battle of #2 at #3, Orlando at Boston, two teams that know themselves quite well. And, not surprisingly, Boston is hurting. Taking this into account, as well as Orlando’s 33-16 record, winners of 7 of their last 8, the Magic should enjoy at 5 to 6 point spread in their favor in this one, even on the road. Now let’s go one of two ways here. If Pierce returns, which is the rumor right now, for this game, you can expect an electric atmosphere in Boston. For a team that’s been through so much this year, they know they need to gel soon or risk being left out in the later rounds of the playoffs (not having home court can be a killer for most teams, even when healthy). Rondo and Garnett have been carrying the load anyway, and Ray Allen is always a deep threat. It might sound weird, but I think the Magic might be taking this game for granted. They no doubt have a ton of confidence right now, and can see themselves coming out of the east, so they figure the game against a Boston team that won’t be 100% even if Pierce hobbles onto the court might just be in the bag. And in my opinion, they’d be wrong. The Celtics will fight hard in this one and pull off an upset. Bet them to win.