Orlando has already proven it can take the heat on the road this season, and tonight the Magic will take it to the Heat when the two Sunshine State squads battle in Miami.

Orlando is hot and Miami is not. That and many other factors make this Florida showdown a “must play” for me.

Dwight HowardIt’s been anything but home sweet home for the Heat who are a pedestrian 7-7 at the AmericanAirlines Arena, and just 5-7 ATS. Dwyane Wade and Company have lost four of their last five in South Beach and are 1-4 vs. the number over that stretch.

They’ll be facing a Magic team that has thrived on the road this season. Orlando is 19-6 overall and 14-11 ATS but have better SU and ATS numbers as a road team going 10-4 and 8-6 respectively. The Magic has also posted an 8-2 record in the last 10 road games, covering six of them.

Miami’s biggest problem is how to handle Dwight Howard. He poses a matchup problem against practically every team in the league but especially against the Heat who don’t have a big body to put on him.

Howard’s numbers are down from last season (18 points and 12 rebounds per game) but his mere presence is worth a boat load of points on the defense end. Howard has 57 blocked shots this and has altered hundreds more.

As Dwyane Wade goes, so go the Heat. Wade is averaging nearly 27 points per game and leads the team in assists with six per contest. He’s also among the NBA’s steals leaders with 37. Containing him will be a severe challenge for Orlando.

The Magic are in a back-to-back situation tonight against the Heat. However, considering the geographic proximity (30 minute flight from Orlando to Miami) this becomes pretty much a non-factor. Orlando is 3-2 (3-2 ATS) in B2B situations. The only time they were at home for the first game and on the road for the second, the Magic defeated the Hawks in Atlanta, 93-76, as 3.5-point dogs.

If you’re considering a totals play in tonight’s contest, consider the 'over.' The last four series meetings have played to the high side and Miami is 5-0 to the over in its last five games.

Also worth noting, Orlando has owned Miami going 10-3-1 in their last 14 meet and greets. There will be added emphasis placed on this evenings tilt by the Magic, aka the “Payback Factor,” after Miami used a last second dunk by Michael Beasley to win the first meeting of the year 99-98.

There are teams in the league that continue to burn me on a consistent basis. The Lakers and Bucks are my personal non-favorites and the Heat have been hard for me to peg in the past. Not tonight though; I’ve got the goods and they’re labeled Orlando Magic. Take the road favorite in this battle of Florida.

Free Pick: Magic -3 (-110)