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NBA Gambling: Heat vs. Suns Free Pick (Dec. 23)

NBA odds: Miami Heat vs. Phoenix Suns Preview & Pick

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Heat at Suns

Date: Thursday, December 23, 10:30 p.m. ET
Venue: U.S. Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Broadcast: TNT
Heat vs. Bucks from Sportsbook.com
Heat: -7
Suns: +7
Total: 209
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The Miami Heat’s huge winning streak has come to an end. Can they start a new one against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday?

The Heat (21-9, 13-14 ATS) had a 13-game winning streak snapped by Dallas on Monday, losing 98-96. Coincidentally, the Mavericks were the last team to beat Miami. The Heat have now dropped two straight games against the spread, falling to 1-3 ATS in their last four games.

Losing to the Mavericks can be partly attributed to the poor play of LeBron James. James went scoreless in the first half and, though he finished with a solid line (19 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists), it was too little, too late. Still, it’s hard to pile on James, who has played quite well as of late. He’s averaging 25.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game in December while hitting 50 percent of his shots. Online Sports Betting at Sportsbook

Dwyane Wade has been just as good, averaging 26.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in December. His scoring average this month is five points higher than it was earlier in the season, not to mention a 55 percent shooting percentage.

Still, defense is the name of the game in Miami. The Heat overwhelm opponents and haven’t allowed more than 100 points in a game since late November, a stretch of 13 games. With defense like that, it’s hard to imagine anybody outscoring James, Wade and company.

Phoenix (13-14, 11-15-1 ATS) can’t get anything going. Since a three-game winning streak at the beginning of the month they’ve gone 2-5, trading wins and losses in five straight games. They lost 118-110 to the Spurs on Monday, though they covered for the second straight game.

Thursday night will mark the debut of the Suns’ new lineup. The team shook things up on the trade front last weekend by shipping out Jason Richardson and acquiring Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickeal Pietrus. The hope is the team’s defense and rebounding improve. That’s going to take a ton of work, as Phoenix ranks last in points allowed and 27th in rebounds per game.

Phoenix’s new charges should be fired up to play in front of the new home crowd on Thursday, though predicting how everyone will mesh in their same game action together is anybody’s guess—and a risky one. You’re better off sticking with the Heat, who look borderline unstoppable right now.

Miami at Suns pick: Heat -7

Ian Van Den Hurk has covered amateur and pro sports for years, including a successful run handicapping anything from football to mixed martial arts.

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About Ian Van Den Hurk

Ian Van Den Hurk has covered amateur and pro sports for years, including a successful run handicapping anything from football to mixed martial arts. Looking for more sports betting tips and expert sports handicapping articles from Ian V? We've got your back...


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