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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 3:47 PM

The belated 2011-12 National Basketball Association began in chaotic condition on Christmas Day and is heading for the playoffs that begin in just 12 days in much the same situation. The Miami Heat remains the 7-5 favorite to win the championship but that is no means a done deal. Chicago, Oklahoma City and even the ageless San Antonio Spurs are going to have a lot to say about that.

While the betting public is in love with Miami and its supposedly unbeatable superstar lineup of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, hidden from those blinded by this love is the fact the Heat are 2-8 in their last 10 road games against teams with winning records. Slice and dice that any way one wants but it is at the least a red flag warning, a hidden chink in the armor of the invincible.

Much has been settled about the playoffs, much has not been.

It is a given the Chicago Bulls (46-14), the team with the best record in the NBA are headed for the playoffs but they need to keep winning to make certain they have the vital home-court edge right to the championship round. Close and still fighting for that perk are the Heat (42-17), the Oklahoma City Thunder (44-16) and the San Antonio Spurs (42-16).

Teams also are battling to just get home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs-no small deal when the money is down and every edge becomes part of the equation.

The Orlando Magic is in the playoff and has absolutely no chance to win it all, despite being a modest 40-1. Orlando's best player, 6-11 center Dwight Howard (20.6 points, 10.8 rebounds per game) is out indefinitely with back problems, and he might as well be since he and coach Stan Van Gundy hate one another and Howard was recently exposed as trying to get Van Gundy fired.

There is a reason the once-competitive Magic are 3-7 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) in their last 10 games.

Philadelphia, which is battling to get into the post-season, started the year in blazing fashion, opening 20-9 and looking every bit playoff bound but this is another team going nowhere-a team that has reportedly been destroyed by internal strife and bickering. There is a reason the 76ers are 6-11 in their last 17 games. You're blowing your money at 100-1.

Then there are those San Antonio Spurs who opened the season in mediocre fashion and seemed to merit the 15-1 odds to win the championship. However, ageless they are, and stand 16-3 SU in their last 19 games and are playing better basketball than any team in the NBA.

Call it money well spent at 7-1.

The defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks are by no means out of it but 30-1 looks a little short to me.

The first round of the NBA playoffs is a best-of-5 games. Each succeeding round is a best-of-7 series but with an altered format. In the conference finals and semifinals, the games are played on a 2-2-1-1-1 format while the championship round is played on a 2-3-2 basis.

I have put together an outstanding NBA playoff package and you can get it for just $199. Included in that package is the rest of the regular NBA season, two weeks of baseball, and the entire playoff schedule, including several 100-unit and 50-unit plays.

Sign up on this web site or toll free at 1-800-755-2255. All major credit cards accepted.

Some NBA Facts And Figures

It does not take a genius to figure out the Charlotte Bobcats (7-52) are an embarrassment to the NBA and are facing their 17th straight defeat tonight when the take the floor at home against the New Orleans Hornets. If the Bobcats lose their remaining games, they will finish with the worst win percentage in NBA history.

For the record, futures betting in Las Vegas had Charlotte winning 15 games this season.

The truth of a team's worth is its ability to win on the road. Of the 30 teams in the NBA, only seven have winning road records at this writing.

Team Overall Record Road Record
Chicago Bulls 46-14 22-8
Oklahoma City 44-16 19-10
San Antonio Spurs 42-16 17-11
Miami Heat 42-17 17-13
Indiana Pacers 38-22 18-14
Los Angeles Clippers 37-23 15-14
Orlando Magic 36-25 16-13


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