Heat vs. Mavericks: NBA Finals Rematch Highlights Christmas Day Card

Miami Heat at Dallas Mavericks
Sunday, 12/25/11, 2:30 PM EST, TV:  ABC
Opening Point Spread:  Miami -3.5
Current Betting Line:  Miami -4
Opening Total:  190.5
Current Total:  188
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Heat Celtics NBA Playoffs Game Preview
The Miami Heat are ready to make another run at making the NBA finals

Miami may be seeking revenge from an NBA finals loss to the Dallas Mavericks, but the team will also be looking to snap a 14-game losing streak in the regular season series.  “We didn’t come together to make the playoffs or come together to win a playoff series, we came together to win the NBA finals,” stated LeBron James this week.  The Heat have tallied an 11-12 record in season-opening contests, including a 2-5 mark on the road.  Miami is 10-3 ATS as a road favorite of 3.5 to 6 points the last two-plus seasons.

The Heat are no strangers to playing on Christmas Day, lacing up their sneakers for the eighth time Sunday, posting a 4-3 record that includes a 96-80 road win over the Los Angeles Lakers last year.  Miami is still led by the trio of James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, while adding role player Shane Battier to the mix.  Bosh has added some bulk to his frame during the offseason to handle more responsibility in the paint, something that other teams around the league consider the Heat’s weakness.

Dallas is set to defend its first-ever NBA title by facing the team that it beat in the finals, looking to post the franchise’s 18th win in 19 tries in the regular-season series.  The Mavericks are considered long shots to capture back-to-back championships.  “We weren’t the favorites to win it last year, so nobody really knows what’s going to happen,” stated Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki.  The German product averaged 26.0 points during the finals, which was actually three points higher than his regular-season average.  Dallas is 14-5 ATS on Sundays the past two-plus seasons.

The Mavericks will play at home on Christmas Day for the first time in franchise history, posting a perfect 2-0 record on the holiday with both victories coming on the road.  Eight of the last 10 defending NBA champions have followed their title season with a season-opening victory the next year.  Dallas is 18-13 all-time in season-opening games and 19-12 in home openers.  Nowitzki has been a star on this day, scoring at least 30 points in both games.

Bettors will likely back the Mavericks due to their 8-1-1 ATS mark as an underdog, while the Heat are 1-3-1 ATS in the last five meetings.

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