Miami Heat +4 (-105) @ Orlando Magic
Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
December 26, 2016, 7:00PM PST
Our work expects Orlando to barely protect home court this evening when their intra-state neighbors come calling. Specifically, we give the Magic about a one point edge at home versus the Heat. But it should be noted that two of our indicators regard Miami is a live dog (these factors anticipate an outright Heat win, by a 1-3 point margin). Accordingly, we are backing Miami +4.
This evening's contest represents the second of four consecutive games Orlando will play at Amway Center. The Magic won and covered versus the Rockets Wednesday to kick off the home stand. Additionally, Orlando is riding a two-game win streak versus the number, and is 12-3 against the spread (and 11-4 straight up) in their last 15 out -- the Magic started the season 6-8 straight up and 8-6 ATS.
On the other hand, Miami has won five of their last seven games, including a road win over New Orleans on Christmas Day to round out a five game stretch at American Airlines Arena. But the Heat covered in only four of those contests. And while Miami is a solid 17-11 straight up, good for third place in the Eastern Conference, their 13-15 record versus the number has been rather unkind to spread bettors.
Since 2010, these teams have split the head-to-head series 11 games each, including two covers each in last year's meetings. The Heat are 6-5 in Orlando over over the last five years, and are 1-3 when the Magic lays points.
HispanosNBA.com reports that Miami is the fifth oldest NBA team in the league,by average age. As such, it is no wonder that the Heat are 1-3 ATS when playing without a night off (not to mention that yesterday's contest required an extra period to decide the victor).
But despite the somewhat ominous betting trends and the potential for a weary Heat unit to show up in Orlando tonight, we are comfortable backing Miami to cover, as our computer simulation and power rankings work not only endorse a Heat win relative to the betting line, but also give the road dogs a shot at the straight up 'W'.