NBA betting returns: Heat favored vs Celtics

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

NBA bettors get back in action Tuesday with three playoff rematches from last spring. The Heat are favored tonight and favored to repeat as NBA champs too.

It's finally that time of year again for basketball fans and bettors, as the NBA returns to action this week.

As is always the case, there is no shortage of intriguing matchups right out of the gate. Here are some of this week's biggest matchups, which are all rematches from last year's postseason.

Boston Celtics at Miami Heat (Tuesday, 8:00 PM ET)

In last year's Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics pushed Miami to the brink of elimination by taking a 3-2 series lead. However, the Heat won Game 6 and Game 7 en route to their NBA championship.

Ray Allen has switched teams over the offseason and is now a member of the Heat, but Boston has also re-loaded with the additions of Courtney Lee and Jason Terry.

Not only will emotions be flaring from last year, but with Derrick Rose out in Chicago, the Celtics are arguably Miami's biggest competition in the East, making this a must-see matchup. Miami is 8-2 SU in its last 10 home games against the Celtics.

The spread was 6.5 points Tuesday morning but the Celtics lead the Atlantic Division odds.

Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Clippers (Wednesday, 10:30 PM ET)

These two up-and-coming contenders in the Western Conference battled for positioning in the standings throughout the regular season last year and ended up meeting in one of the most entertaining series in the first round of the playoffs in 2011-12. The Clippers stole Game 1 and Game 7 in that series to advance to the second round.

Both of these teams are popular sleeper picks out West, and we'll get to see what they are made of this Wednesday. The total has gone UNDER in seven of the last 10 games between these two teams.

Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs (Thursday, 9:30 PM ET)

Last year's top two seeds in the Western Conference met in the conference finals, where Oklahoma City snapped San Antonio's 20-game winning streak in Game 3 and went on to win the series in six games. The Spurs will try to get some revenge on Thursday with one of the NBA's best home-court advantages (28-5 SU at home in 2011-12).

Oklahoma City shocked the basketball world with its trade of valuable guard James Harden over the weekend. It will be interesting to see how the team responds to losing a key member of its core behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

The new-look Lakers start this week and they are not favorites to win the NBA title, despite the arrival of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.

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