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Atlantic Division Preview (Mar. 3)

New York hosts Miami on Sunday afternoon in the third game of a four game series between the two rivals this year.

The game – which could be a precursor to the Eastern Conference Finals – will be of interest to fans and bettors alike, particularly with the history the two sides share.

The showdown – scheduled for 1:00 PM ET – is also the first of a pair of Atlantic Division clashes taking place on Sunday. Read on for the BettingSports.com preview of both games.

Miami Heat at New York Knicks

New York will look to secure a third win over Miami this season, Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

Three straight wins has New York (35-20, 21-8 home) back on track, for the time being at least.

Prior to this run of success, the Knicks had dropped five of six, allowing Brooklyn to close the gap at the top of the Atlantic Division. Whilst New York has strung wins together since, the Nets have lost four of the last five. The Manhattan side now leads its neighbor from the Boroughs by four games in the loss column.

On Sunday afternoon, the Knicks will host LeBron James and the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden. Currently 6.5 games back of the Heat for first place in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks won’t have given up hope of catching the defending champion just yet. That could change after this showdown.

Miami (42-14, 16-11 road) has been on a tear of late, winning 13 straight games and 18 of the last 20. Only San Antonio has a better record in the entire NBA. James has made huge headlines during that time, and Miami remains the favorite to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.

Despite the Heat’s dominance of late, New York has a trump card to play. The Knicks have beaten Miami twice already this season, winning 104-84 at the Garden on Nov. 2 before picking up a 112-92 win in South Beach on Dec. 6. Another win on Sunday will give the side a guaranteed season series victory ahead of the finale on Apr. 2. That would be huge were these two sides to meet in the playoffs.

Of course, both of those victories came early in the season when Miami appeared to be suffering a championship hangover. The Heat side that takes to the court on Sunday is a much more confident beast.

New York has posted a 9-1 record against teams playing in the Southeast Division this season, including a 4-0 tally when playing at home. Miami has fared less well against the Atlantic Division, going 7-4 overall and 2-3 on the road. That’s another card in New York’s favor.

The Knicks have won two straight and seven of nine at Madison Square Garden. Meanwhile, Miami has won five straight and eight of 10 on the road, well and truly erasing those early season jitters away from American Airlines Arena.

Miami is the favorite ahead of tip-off. The spread opened at 1.5 but has subsequently grown to 5 with a number of bookmakers.

Miami (29-27-0 ATS) has fared slightly better than New York (27-28-0 ATS) against the spread this season, but New York may have an advantage on Sunday. The Knicks are 7-3-0 ATS as underdogs, while the Heat is 26-27-0 ATS as the favorite.

The total opened at 202.5, but has fallen to 198.5 with some odds makers. Miami (30-26-0) has favored the over this season as has New York (27-26-2).

Philadelphia 76ers at Washington Wizards

It is looking less and less likely that Andrew Bynum will don a Sixers uniform this season.

Whilst the Knicks have lofty hopes for the remainder of the season, Philadelphia (23-34, 6-19 road) continues to lick its wounds.

News surfaced this week that there is a high possibility that center Andrew Bynum – acquired in the trade that send Dwight Howard to the Lakers – may not return from injury this season. With Bynum a free agent this summer, there remains a very realistic chance he’ll never play for the Sixers.

Philadelphia could really have used the big man this season. Despite one or two bright spots – the play of All-Star guard Jrue Holiday being one of them – the Sixers have struggled throughout the season. The side currently resides in the Eastern Conference’s No. 9 spot, but has shown little potential for catching Milwaukee at No. 8.

A 104-97 win over Golden State on Saturday night snapped a seven game losing streak for the Sixers. On Sunday the side will look to snap another streak; the Sixers have lost nine straight and 18 of 20 on the road.

Looking to snap its own two game losing streak, Washington (18-39, 13-17 home) will look to fend off Philadelphia. The Wizards had won seven of nine, and five of six at home, before those two losses. The Wizards’ latest defeat came at the hands of New York this past Friday.

The Wizards have struggled against the Atlantic Division this season, compiling a 3-7 record, including a 92-84 loss to Philadelphia on Jan. 30.

Philadelphia has fared better against Southeast Division opponents, going 5-3. However, the Sixers have played just one game on the road (a win over Charlotte) against the division.

Vegas hasn’t released a line on this game at time of publication, so keep it locked to the BettingSports.com NBA Odds page for the latest betting information.

For the record: Philadelphia is 26-31-0 ATS this season with a 10-15-0 ATS record on the road. The Sixers are 12-12-0 ATS when considered the favorite and 14-19-0 ATS as the underdog.

With a 35-21-0 ATS record, Washington is the No. 1 team in the league against the spread. The Wizards are 18-12-0 ATS at home, 3-5-0 ATS when considered the favorite and 32-16-1 ATS when playing as the underdog.

Philadelphia (29-25-0) has marginally favored the over while Washington (21-35-1) has consistently seen the total go under.

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