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Get Your Popcorn Ready

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 10/25/2010 10:20:25 AM

Say whatever you want about NBA Commissioner David Stern but one thing you can’t say with any conviction is that he doesn’t know how to kick off a season as he opens the 82-game slugfest this year with a possible preview of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Miami Heat travel to Beantown to meet the legendary Celtics and they bring more hype to the season than any team in recent years.

Unless you have been hanging out in one of those caves formerly occupied by Osama Bin Laden, you know by now that the Heat pulled off one of the biggest acquisitions in sports when they got LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Dwayne Wade and company in South Beach.

They now have three bonafide stars to build around but there lies the riddle. Who is left to fill out the roster and will they be good enough to get Miami to the promised land?

Udonis Haslem is back and as a corner stone player, he lends stability to the squad. They are light in the middle with a young athletic Joel Anthony at center but his job will be to just rebound and defend.

The team’s first purchase after getting James and Bosh was journeyman Mike Miller, but he suffered a freak injury in the preseason and will be lost until January. That will put a lot of pressure on another recent pickup in Eddie House, who formerly played for the Celts and can heat up like a microwave when in the mood.

Juwan Howard adds bulk to the team while Zydrunas Ilgauskas followed LeBron from the Cavs.

Expectations are obviously through the roof with the Heat but remember back in the day when the Lakers had Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor on the same team but they didn’t win squat.

As for Boston, they also picked up a big body in Shaquille O’Neil and another center in Jermaine O’Neil and although both have seen better days, they will shore up the front line of the veteran Celts.

Boston will be lying in wait after hearing every day in the off-season how the Heat are favorites to win the championship and they will be sky high. Kevin Garnett is now 2 seasons removed from his serious injury and is already blowing off stream as he was ejected from the very first preseason game.

Ray Allen still has the sweetest stroke this side of a golf course, Rajon Rondo is an elite point guard and the heart and soul of team is steady Paul Pierce.

Look for a tightly contested low scoring game Tuesday with the Celts prevailing by the skin of their teeth.

As the season goes on, we’ll try to isolate important upcoming games with an eye toward betting value and also scrutinize emerging trends, key injuries, break out players and teams that are plainly overmatched.

Hopefully, some of these insights will be useful in finding the right side of the spread on a consistent basis so the bankroll can be padded.

Sit back, get your favorite beverage and enjoy the best athletes in the world.

Good wagering and good luck.

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