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Bank shots: NBA betting news and notes

Each week, we look back on the NBA betting scene and give you the best –and worst – basketball bets, as well as some spots to keep an eye on with the upcoming schedule.

Stats as of Sunday, Dec. 23.

Hottest ATS team

Miami Heat (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS last week)

The Heat are hitting their stride with a huge Christmas Day matchup looming. Miami rolled over Minnesota, Dallas and Utah last week, winning those games by an average margin of 14 points – music to the bettor’s ears. Those blowouts are just what you need when dealing with the Heat’s inflated lines on a nightly basis. Miami is getting the job done with defense, holding all three of those opponents and its last seven under the 100-point plateau.

Coldest ATS team

San Antonio Spurs (1-2 SU, 0-3 ATS last week)

Suddenly the NBA’s golden goose is losing its glitter. The Spurs have been cash cows for most of 2012 but hit an ATS skid this week, failing to cover at Oklahoma City, at Denver and home to New Orleans. However, things will likely turn around this coming week. Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson are both back from injuries, providing the aging starters with some relief off the bench. San Antonio hosts Dallas Sunday before a short break and a home game with Toronto on Dec. 26.

Best over team

Boston Celtics (1-2 SU, 3-0 over/under)

The Celtics’ late-game defense has allowed scores to creep into over range. Boston let up versus Milwaukee Friday and watched an 8-point fourth-quarter lead transform into an overtime loss. The Celtics have actually been one of the better over plays at home this season, posting a 9-4-1 over/under count in the Garden. However, they hit the road for four straight games starting with a Christmas Day trip to Brooklyn. The Nets and Celtics have played under the total in seven of their last nine meetings.

Best under team

Los Angeles Clippers (3-0 SU, 0-3 over/under)

The Clippers may get some serious face time during the Plays of the Night, but L.A.’s "other team" has built a solid start to the season on the back of its defense. Los Angeles is locking down foes for just 92.2 points per game and took advantage of some less-than-powerful scoring attacks this past week. In wins over Detroit, New Orleans and Sacramento, the Clippers gave up an average of just over 79 points. Los Angeles takes on Phoenix Sunday and has a Christmas Day date with Denver at home.

Scouting the schedule

- Toronto better enjoy its extended holiday break because it’s back to business after Xmas. The Raptors hit the road for three road games in four nights, starting in San Antonio Wednesday. They then go to New Orleans Friday and Orlando Saturday. Toronto has been a solid wager north of the border (8-4 ATS at home) but is just 6-10 ATS away from the Air Canada Centre.

- Miami doesn’t get much time to put its feet up during the holidays. The Heat play four games in five nights, beginning with a finals rematch against Oklahoma City on Christmas Day. The defending champs hit the road for three straight games after that – at Charlotte Wednesday, at Detroit Friday, and at Milwaukee Saturday. They cap that four-game swing in Orlando on New Year’s Eve.

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