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Southeast Division Preview

Southeast Division Preview

Southeast Division Preview
Bovada Sportsbook

Since putting together their “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, the Miami Heat have run away with the Southeast Division and the Eastern Conference. Will anything stand in their way in 2012-13? Here’s a look at the Southeast Division heading into the new season.

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Miami Heat could be even better this year

After finishing just short of basketball’s top prize in 2010-11 by falling to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Championship, Miami entered the 2011-12 season on a mission. The Heat finished the regular season 46-20 straight up and 32-34 against the NBA basketball odds, and then took care of business in the postseason with a 16-7 SU and 14-8-1 ATS record en route to the NBA championship.

How does the best team in basketball get even better over the offseason? By making two big acquisitions while losing no one from the core. The Heat’s additions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis make them an even deeper team with more shooting options and veteran experience. The addition of big man Josh Harrellson should also help Miami be better on the boards.

With James, Wade, and Bosh leading the way, the Heat are the runaway favorite to win the East at 5/8 and the favorite to win the NBA championship at 9/4. With Derrick Rose sidelined with a torn ACL and Dwight Howard traded out of the conference, the path to the NBA championship should be even easier for the Heat. Will any team be able to top the Heat in a best-of-7 series?

Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic opt for rebuilds

With a 40-26 straight up record (36-27-3 record against the NBA basketball odds) last season, the Atlanta Hawks made the playoffs for the fifth straight time; but failed to advance past the first round when they lost in six games to the Boston Celtics. Deciding it was time for a shakeup, the Hawks brought in a new general manager in Danny Ferry.

Ferry wasted no time in making a big splash by trading the Hawks’ best offensive weapon, Joe Johnson. Getting rid of his bloated contract meant not getting the quality pieces you’d expect back in return for a franchise player.

But this isn’t a full rebuild; Atlanta still has a talented core, led by Al Horford, Josh Smith and Jeff Teague. The Hawks added Lou Williams to a very deep bench, and have the pieces to make some moves should they want to make a run this year. At 75/1 to win the NBA championship and 35/1 to win the Eastern Conference, there are worse values on the board, especially if the Hawks can stay healthy this season and develop some chemistry early in the year.

In Orlando’s case, the rebuild is in full swing. A playoff team last year with a 37-29 SU and 34-32 ATS record, the Magic traded Dwight Howard for a package of prospects and journeymen. There is enough talent here to compete for a low playoff spot in the wide-open bottom half of the East. But with the emphasis appearing to be on rebuilding through the draft over the next few years, the 100/1 odds to win the NBA championship and 60/1 odds to win the East look about right.

All eyes on the Miami Heat’s regular season

Rounding out the division are the Washington Wizards (200/1 to win the NBA championship, 100/1 to win the East) and the Charlotte Bobcats (300/1 to win the NBA championship, 200/1 to win the East). Both added exciting young players in the draft in Bradley Beal and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, respectively. Charlotte was far and away the worst team in basketball last season with a 7-59 straight up and 22-43-1 ATS record.

Realistically, there shouldn’t be anything to stop the Heat from coasting to a division title, and few teams out East will be able to compete with this team come playoff time barring any injuries. The question now is how focused and motivated will the Heat be during the regular season? They might be a good fade on the road in some spots (they were 18-15 SU and 14-19 ATS on the road last season) if they are just going through the motions. But when it comes to the big picture, the defending champs are the team to beat.

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Re: Southeast Division Preview

NBA Southeast Division Preview
By Steve Merril

The defending NBA champs are huge favorites to top the Southeast Division, big chalk to win the Eastern Conference and the oddsmakers’ choice to repeat their NBA title. But while all eyes are on the Heat, there could be hidden value below them in the standings.

Atlanta Hawks (2011-12: 40-26 SU, 36-28-2 ATS)

Odds to win division: +1,400
Season win total: 43.5

Why bet the Hawks: Atlanta has overhauled its roster and we see that as a good thing. The Hawks were getting too complacent with the guys they had and they just got stagnant. Atlanta went as Joe Johnson went, but he is now gone and the Hawks will be more of a team this season.

Why not bet the Hawks: Defense. The Hawks ranked sixth in overall defensive efficiency last season, but they will decline this year. Atlanta is a small team and, with a wealth of scorers, the Hawks will likely need to outscore opponents to win. The Hawks will play at a faster pace, so transition defense will be a key.

Season win total pick: Over 43.5

Charlotte Bobcats (2011-12: 7-59 SU, 23-43-0 ATS)

Odds to win division: +15,000
Season win total: 21.5

Why bet the Bobcats: There’s nowhere to go but up for Charlotte. The Bobcats won just seven of 66 games last season - that’s no misprint. Charlotte went 7-59. The Bobcats overhauled the coaching staff and they’ve added five new players to the roster. They have a fresh start and they will be catching a lot of points on most nights this season.

Why not bet the Bobcats: Bad. A simple adjective is all that is needed to describe Charlotte. With a new system plugged with recycled players, there’s going to be a lot of losing once again. New head coach Mike Dunlap is a defensive strategist, but he’s going to need a couple of years to get the right players in place.

Season win total pick: Under 21.5

Miami Heat (2011-12: 46-20 SU, 32-34-0 ATS)

Odds to win division: -2,500
Season win total: 60.5

Why bet the Heat: The defending NBA champs should be even better this season. Miami is a loaded team and when it plays small, it’s virtually impossible to beat. The Heat added Ray Allen and he brings two major upgrades with his 3-point shooting and his free-throw shooting.

Why not bet the Heat: Health. Teams were able to attack Miami inside last season, especially when Chris Bosh was out with injury. He’s a fragile guy and if he misses time, the Heat could slip up a bit. Dwyane Wade will also be playing on an unstable knee and Ray Allen is coming off ankle surgery.

Season win total pick: Over 60.5

Orlando Magic (2011-12: 37-29 SU, 34-32-0 ATS)

Odds to win division: +7,000
Season win total: 24.5

Why bet the Magic: Orlando won’t have the Dwight Howard drama to deal with anymore and without that distraction, the Magic will be able to focus on basketball. Their offense should be more dynamic and the team, as a whole, will be unselfish. New head coach Jacque Vaughn also brings new life to Orlando.

Why not bet the Magic: Losses. Despite the negative attention he brought, Dwight Howard was still a dominant player. And you just can’t replace that type of talent. Orlando’s defense will be easy to score upon and since it’ll be playing with youth in a rebuilding year, the Magic will struggle.

Season win total pick: Under 24.5

Washington Wizards (2011-12: 20-46 SU, 26-36-1 ATS)

Odds to win division: +5,500
Season win total: 31.5

Why bet the Wizards: Washington has low expectations once again this season. The Wizards do
have plenty of talent on hand and they got rid of the headache known as Andray Blatche. Washington will have a much-improved defense which will keep it competitive in a lot games this season.

Why not bet the Wizards: Offense. Washington’s offense will struggle to score points as it simply doesn’t have enough high-powered offensive players. That weakness will be glaring without John Wall on the court. He will miss about six weeks with a stress injury in his left knee. If he has a setback, the Wizards are in the danger zone.

Season win total pick: Over 31.5

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