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January 21st 2014 - Posted 5:00 PM Eastern Time

There are two bets risking a total of 4% tonight.

#1: Take Miami Heat at -10 spread against Boston Celtics risking 2%

The two-time defending champions Miami Heat are looking anything but defending champion just about now. The Heat have lost 4 of their last 6 games with their two victories coming against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats and Philadelphia 76ers. The Heat most recently lost a non-defensive game as they surrendered 121 points in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks last night. Yesterday's game was the final of what turned out to be a long 6-game road trip so you can bet that they will be happy to be back in the confines of American Airlines Arena tonight and looking to get back to winning ways.

While the Heat have been somewhat a shell of their former dominant selves for much of the year, their desire has come into question. There is no doubt that we have been seeing some un-inspired games this season but much of those struggles have come on the road and in games where they lacked motivation. That won't be the case tonight. They will need to turn things around if they want to celebrate 3 consecutive championships and this determined group certainly does. They realize that the Indiana Pacers are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. The Heat will not be able to matchup in a series with the Pacers out in Indiana. They will need to get going to contend for that #1 seed so they can have home field advantage like they did last year or they could be in some trouble come playoff time. They need to turn their recent bad form around and that should start tonight when the Boston Celtics will be taking their "meager talents" to South Beach.

The Boston Celtics as everyone knows are in a rebuilding year. The organization shipped all of their talent out of the city and brought in a bevy of younger players in the hopes of rebuilding this franchise. Rajon Rondo recently returned from injury and the Celtics went 0-2 with him in the lineup. He's still not at full speed and the Celtics have lost 14 of their last 16 games including 9 straight on the road! This is about what we all expected of the Celtics this season and we are getting it. They have managed to play closely contested games against both the Lakers and the Magic recently; however this is still the Miami Heat we are talking about. The level in both experience and talent is on another level and a motivated Heat team is a different animal!

The Celtics own a shocking upset against the Heat down in Miami from earlier this season and you can bet the Heat have not forgotten about that! The Heat have lost only 3 games at home all season and one of those came on Nov 9th at the hands of this young Celtics team by a one-point margin! Boston has in fact been a thorn in the side of the Heat for the last couple of years. Even though this is a much different Celtics team than in years past, it would be foolish to think that James and company don't want to exact revenge on the Boston franchise as a whole. The Heat have obviously got to be frustrated with themselves at the moment given the way that they have been playing recently but just when some are doubting them, they will prove them wrong. What better way for them to take out some of that frustration than to dominate a poor team whom you are looking to avenge an earlier home loss to. This game has all of the makings of a blowout written all over it and we believe that's what happens here. The Heat should be able to shore up some of the holes in their game and put on a show in front of their home crowd tonight.

We expect Miami to win this game fairly easily and they will likely enjoy a double digit lead for much of the game. A backdoor cover by the losing team is our only conern but even then it is the Celtics who are playing the following night away to Wizards (a team that beat them recently) and so they are likely to rest starters in the 4th quarter if the game is already out of reach. The Heat on the other hand have tomorrow off and will be solely focused on bouncing back in style.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Boston is 1-5 ATS off an upset loss as a favorite.
  • Boston is 3-10 in its last 13 visits to Miami.
  • Miami is 16-3 at home this season.
  • Boston is 7-18 ATS when on the road with 1 days rest.

#2: Take Texas A&M at +14 spread against Kentucky risking 2%

The Kentucky Wildcats are a team that figures to be perennial powerhouses each and every season especially under a veteran coach such a John Calipari. They have talent each and every season but the issue that we have with Kentucky is the fact that they are continually getting younger and more inexperienced. Gone are the days when a freshman will typically stay more than one season to develop into a better overall basketball player. The younger talents these days are more interested in satisfying their 1-year minimum and heading straight into the NBA. This forces teams like Kentucky to be in a constant state of rebuilding and transition.
That can hurt an even talented team and we already have seen its effects on the Wildcats a few times this season.

While Kentucky has been a force on the offensive end this season, their defense has been somewhat lacking. They are allowing teams to shoot nearly 40% from the field this season. Their raw talent has allowed them to power through most games and simply outscore their opponents but laying 14 points against a team like Texas AM is always a dangerous proposition. The Aggies could very easily be 4-0 heading into this contest with Kentucky; however after a series of unfortunate bounces and miscues, they fell in overtime to the Mississippi State Bulldogs. They can't be very happy with the way that game ended and this could be a "bounce back" of sorts for them. It will require a full team effort as Kentucky, even though they are young is still an extremely talented team.

While the matchup problems are always a concern when going up against a team with the size and length of Kentucky, the Aggies have seen the key in beating the Wildcats a couple of times this season. Most recently everyone witnessed the Arkansas Razorbacks be able to not only keep pace but get a win on a lob-dunk as time expired. The Razorbacks are not a team that likes to play a lot of defense. Kentucky has relied on teams sending them to the foul line in games and when that has not happened, they've had tougher times. Defense was what caused the Aggies' last loss against Mississippi State when they sent the Bulldogs to the line a combined 32 times! That cannot happen against Kentucky and the good thing about such losses is that it allows the coaching staff to re-evaluate and make tweaks for the next game. A&M have been rock solid off of a defeat going 42-18 ATS in their following game. Look for them to make the necessary adjustments tonight.

While it is always tough to come into Rupp Arena and upset the Wildcats, Texas A&M does have a fighting chance in this game. They will need to not let Kentucky manhandle them on the glass and will also need to avoid foul trouble. Since starting conference play, the Aggies have changed around their lineup which has dramatically improved their numbers across the board. This could be a lineup that could frustrate Kentucky, but A&M has the ability to hang on the scoreboard with the Wildcats. Whichever team wins the battle at the foul line will likely win this game. If A&M can get either or both Randle and Cauley-Stein into early foul trouble tonight, it will only help their chances at the end of the game. We don't expect an upset here tonight but do feel that 14 points is too much to spot an Aggies team that has historically re-shifted focused and bounced back after a loss. Take the generous points as they keep it somewhat respectable and cover the spread.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Texas A&M is 26-17 ATS against SEC opponents over the last 3 seasons.
  • Texas A&M is 2-0 as road underdogs of 12.5 to 15 points over the last 3 seasons.
  • Texas A&M is 17-7 ATS following a loss against a conference opponent!
  • Kentucky is 0-2 ATS as a home favorite of between 12.5 to 15 points over the last 3 seasons.

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