Any talk about teams that hold a betting edge over the Heat begins and ends with the defending Eastern conference champions. The Boston Celtics have struggled with injuries and inconsistencies over the past month to fall from the top spot in the East’s NBA standings, but should be healthy in time for the postseason. That will mean trouble for the other seven teams in the East that got in, as the Celtics have experience and depth that is unrivalled in the conference. Boston was so strong at the center position with Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal that they traded Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder to add some depth to their bench in the form of Jeff Green and another center in Nenad Krstic. Rajon Rondo has been unfocused at times, but knows how to raise his game on the biggest stage and has developed alongside the Celtics’ big three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen to become one of the premier players in the game. The Heat don’t have the dominant big men to challenge players like the two O’Neal centers or Garnett, and their bench is nowhere close to as strong as Boston’s.
Beyond the Celtics, the Chicago Bulls are another of those pay per head teams that appear to be more well equipped for a postseason run than the Heat are. Like Boston, Chicago has a plethora of big men to turn to in Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, and Kurt Thomas, and the MVP candidate in Derrick Rose that can maximize their talents while creating for his self. The Bulls haven’t been this strong since Michael Jordan was leading the team to titles in the mid-90’s, and if they can continue to build the team chemistry that will become another aspect of their game in which they are more dominant than Miami.
There is no doubt that the Heat has improved from a year ago, but it is still not enough for them to contend with the top dogs in the East. Factor All Star center Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic into the equation and we have three teams with dominant inside presences that can rough up Miami in the sports betting bonus postseason. The Heat will need to bulk up this coming offseason, and that could be tough with limited salary to work with. In the end, it will come down to a lack of size and team chemistry that will keep Miami from going all the way.
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