TNT Thursday Night NBA Free Picks 3/2/11 (ORL @ MIA, DEN @ UTA)

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If it’s a Thursday night, that means that it’s time for NBA betting action once again! This week, in the final two duels before the NBA Trade Deadline, we make our free basketball picks on the clashes between the Orlando Magic vs. Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz.

NBA Matchup: Orlando Magic @ Miami Heat
Date: Thursday, March 3rd, 8:00 ET
Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
NBA Odds: Miami -5
Over/Under (Total): 198

The “heat” will definitely be on in South Beach on Thursday night between these two Sunshine State rivals. The Magic have clawed back to within 4.5 games of the lead in the Southeast Division, but when push comes to shove, this is the game that absolutely has to be won to keep the pressure on Miami. Dwight Howard is coming off of yet another fantastic game against the New York Knicks in which he scored 30 points and had 16 boards with five blocks. The key though, is the play of Jameer Nelson. Nelson might only be averaging 12.6 points per game this season, but he did go off for 26 against New York in a crucial role. Miami is coming off of a loss to said Knicks, but it is fairly clear that this is a team that isn’t going to be getting beaten all that often, especially on its home court. The Heat should be debuting Mike Bibby in this one, as he has been signed after he was bought out by the Washington Wizards earlier this week. Orlando really got crushed earlier this season in South Beach, getting knocked off 96-70 right at the start of the year. The Magic did end up scoring a big time win at the Amway Center in November, but the most recent meeting back at Mickey Mouse’s house resulted in a win for LeBron James and company. LBJ and Dwyane Wade really cannot be stopped in games like this, while Chris Bosh has always had a great career against Howard and company. Orlando might be 13-6-1 ATS in the last 20 meetings in this series, but the Heat are definitely the key to beating the NBA odds on Thursday. NBA Free Pick: Miami Heat -5

NBA Matchup: Denver Nuggets @ Utah Jazz
Date: Thursday, March 3rd, 10:30 ET
Location: Energy Solutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
NBA Odds: Utah -3.5
Over/Under (Total): 210

Both the Jazz and Nuggets made big time deals at the trade deadline, but neither one of these teams have their former superstars. Utah no longer has Deron Williams, while Denver is still trying to figure out how to live life without Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. The thing about the Nuggs though, is that they really do have a deep team still with a ton of talent. In a 100-90 win over the Atlanta Hawks was really a great example of this. Wilson Chandler, Nene, Kenyon Martin, Raymond Felton, and JR Smith all put up at least 13 points, while three others had at least six points. Not bad for a team that didn’t really use Al Harrington all that much and still has yet to debut Timofey Mozgov. The Jazz really haven’t figured out how to get back in the saddle without Williams, most likely because the guard situation is really in bad shape without Williams. The team’s defense has totally gone down the drain over the course of these last two games, allowing 107 to the Boston Celtics and a whopping 120 to the Detroit Pistons. If this is going to be the situation in this one on Thursday night, the Jazz are going to be singing the blues. We’re really not all that sure that it’s justified, especially since there is still some payback for the Nuggets to pick up after losing 113-106 at home just a month ago. Free NBA Pick: Denver Nuggets +3.5

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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