Hawks Host Heat To Tip TNT Thursday Twinbill

By: Adam Markowitz | Wednesday, January 4, 2012

NBA betting action over the course of the next few days should be hot and heavy, as there are a number of teams that are going to be playing in some big time spots that have a lot to prove.

We’ll start with Thursday’s TNT doubleheader that begins with the Miami Heat visiting the Atlanta Hawks.  Atlanta is off to a nice beginning to the season, going 4-2 SU and ATS despite not getting a minute on the court out of Kirk Hinrich yet. Included in that mix was a win over the Heat in South Beach and a near miss against the Chicago Bulls.

Atlanta’s win over Miami was impressive to say the least, especially in South Beach, and it now has a shot at pulling off yet another big time victory against the bona fide favorites to win the NBA title on Thursday.

If you think that the Hawks don’t have a great defense, think again. They have held teams to just 85.7 PPG this year, tops in the league, and are 5-1 for ‘under’ bettors because of it. Against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, Atlanta held the hosts to just 42 points through three quarters before allowing 34 in the fourth to blow the game.

Going into play on Wednesday, it is the Portland Trail Blazers and not the Oklahoma City Thunder who are leading the Northwest Division. The Blazers have been awesome, going 4-1 SU and 3-1-1 ATS, and both marks amongst the best in the game.

The offense has been great for Portland, averaging 102.0 PPG, ranking No. 4 in the league, and when the team scores even 90 in a game, it has been perfect this season.

The Blazers are coming off of a big win on the road against the aforementioned Thunder, and on Thursday, they have a nationally televised home game against the big kahunas of the conference, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Portland is also on national TV the very next night when ESPN televises their game at the Phoenix Suns.

The team that has a lot to prove heading into the weekend is the Orlando Magic. The Magic are 4-2 this year, but they were very unimpressive against the Detroit Pistons on the road on Monday night and haven’t beaten a team this season that would be considered all that notable.

The Magic will be highlighted on ESPN on Friday against the Bulls, who clearly are one of the best teams in the league. This is the final home game before Orlando goes out on a long West Coast swing, and it is a game in which it could be able to get the bad taste out of the mouths of NBA bettors after its first nationally televised loss of the season against Oklahoma City.

Elsewhere on Friday night, the Lakers come back to Staples Center to take on the Golden State Warriors in a battle for bragging rights in the state of California. The Denver Nuggets will also take on the New Orleans Hornets down in the Bayou, while the Thunder host the Houston Rockets.

In the East, the big matchup of Friday night sees the Indiana Pacers take on the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden. If the Pacers can win this game on the road, it will be yet another huge step in their surprising start to the season, which has brought the team a 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS mark.

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