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Bet on the NBAEven before the 2010-2011 NBA basketball season began, all of the focus was on the Miami Heat. An aging LA Lakers team has lost some of its shine, while the San Antonio Spurs are the best team in the NBA but not flashy by any means. With Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James making the move to Miami in the summer, all of the preseason hype was placed on the Heat.

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But are the Heat really as good as everyone expects and wishes them to be? After all, they are only 14-14 against teams over .500, they have yet to beat the Boston Celtics or the Chicago Bulls, and their clutch performances are sorely lacking. They are are only 2-6 when the game is decided by 3 or fewer points. These are not the signs of an elite NBA program.

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Until Miami beats an elite team such as the Celtics or Bulls, basketball betting fans may not want to place much confidence in LeBron and his teammates. In the near future, the Heat will have opportunities to play solid basketball against both the Spurs and the Bulls. Miami travels to San Antonio on Friday for the tail-end of a back-to-back schedule. They play the Bulls on Sunday.

Up to this point of the season, Miami has been more of a benchmark for good teams than an elite franchise in and of themselves. With losses to Boston, Chicago, and the New York Knicks featuring Carmelo Anthony, overcoming the Heat is much more of sign of success for other teams. When teams win against Miami, they prove themselves as legitimate franchises.

These next two weeks will be a brutal test for the Heat, who find themselves in matchups against the Orlando Magic, the Spurs, the Bulls, the Lakers, the Spurs again, and finally the Oklahoma City Thunder. Will the Heat keep giving up fourth quarter leads in Miami, and losing to the better teams in the league? Or will they finally live up to the hype and start playing at a truly elite level?


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