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Mavs Vs. Heat Odds: Dallas A Home Underdog In Finals Rematch

The Heat are favored to beat the Mavericks on Christmas Day.

As the Dallas Mavericks prepare to defend the franchise's first NBA championship, one thing is for sure: they'll still be able to play the underdog card against the Miami Heat.

In the marquee game of the NBA's Christmas Day schedule, the Mavericks are +4.5 point home underdogs against the star-studded Heat in a rematch of last season's epic NBA Finals.

Unlike in June, Dallas won't have the services of All-Defensive team center Tyson Chandler, who signed with the New York Knicks in the offseason. 

The Mavericks will attempt to replace Chandler with a center-by-committee, including Brendan Haywood and Ian Mahinmi, free agent signings Brandan Wright and Sean Williams as well as former LA Laker Lamar Odom, whom Dallas acquired using the trade exception they received from signing-and-trading Chandler.

Miami, meanwhile, added long-time NBA veteran Shane Battier and drafted point guard Norris Cole out of Cleveland State in an effort to boost their perimeter defense. But, for the most part, they return the same team that lost to Dallas in six in the 2011 NBA Finals.

The Christmas Day Game, broadcast nationally by ABC at 1:30 PM, will be the only regular season visit for Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

For the latest news and notes on the defending NBA champions, check out Mavs Moneyball, and for more on the Heat, head on over to Peninsula Is Mightier.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.