Miami Heat lead the betting for 2012 NBA Championship

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The NBA season gets underway on Christmas Day, following the fourth lockout in the history of the organisation taking place since July 1.

With some players agreeing short-term moves to other countries whilst the lockdown occurred, these players return with Miami Heat looking the most serious contenders to Dallas Mavericks’ title.

Heat, who feature superstars LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade within their ranks, are 7/2 to win the NBA Championship, and face one of their toughest challenges on the opening day of the season against the reigning champions.

Dallas Mavericks boast Dirk Nowitzki, who was in imperious form last year and was named the NBA Finals MVP.

They are a big 12/1 to pick up back-to-back titles as it seems as though the quality of the competition could overwhelm them this time round.

Miami Heat are 10/13 to get off to a winning start against the champions, who have an 11/10 price attributed to them as the away side.

Amongst other challengers, LA Lakers are 9/2 to re-ignite a recent spate of superlative form that saw them collect NBA Championship titles in 2009 and 2010.

They have a new coach in Mike Brown, who will be keen to make an immediate impact in his new role, and Brown faces a daunting trip to Chicago Bulls to kick off his regime.

Despite the Bulls also being one of the favourites for the title at 7/1, the Lakers are 20/29 favourites to defeat the side made famous by Michael Jordan on Christmas Day.

The home team, who have former Rookie of the Year and 2011 MVP Derrick Rose at their disposal, are 5/4 to score the upset victory, and an interesting 10/11 with a 2.5 point handicap.

Boston Celtics take on New York Knicks in the other opening day fixture, and there is nothing to separate the rivals who are both priced at 10/11 for the win.

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