NBA Picks: Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat Odds and Predictions for Wednesday
by Alan Matthews - 4/3/2012
The Miami Heat have been atop the odds to win the NBA title chart all season – currently at 19/10 on Bovada. But could we see a change at the top if the Oklahoma City Thunder can go into south Florida and beat the team with the NBA’s best home record after recently punking the Heat in OKC? It’s certainly possible (the Thunder are currently 3/1).
This will be the final time we see these two teams on the court unless they meet in the NBA Finals this summer. And this game could also go a long way to determining the 2012 NBA MVP. Most believe it’s LeBron James’ to lose, but Kevin Durant is certainly closing the gap, and if Durant’s Thunder can sweep the season series with Miami, that might sway enough voters.
Thunder at Heat How the Teams Enter
Oklahoma City had its six-game winning streak snapped Monday night at home by Memphis, but that was the absolute definition of a trap game. The Thunder were feeling good about themselves in having easily handled the Lakers, Heat and Bulls of late. And it was the second of a back-to-back on Monday for the Thunder ahead of a two-game trip to Miami and Indiana, two playoff teams. Plus, the Grizzlies just give the Thunder fits for whatever reason.
You could really see that 94-88 loss coming. It was the fewest points the Thunder had scored since Jan. 24. After averaging 31.7 points and one turnover in his previous three games, Russell Westbrook went 5-for-16 and committed four turnovers. OKC could have tied the Bulls, who also lost Monday, for the NBA’s best overall record (and the Thunder would hold the tiebreaker thanks to Sunday’s win over Chicago).
Miami, meanwhile, began a five-game homestand on Tuesday against the 76ers. The Heat are no doubt happy to be home as they have struggled on the road– their past three away losses were by a combined 49 points. Miami suffered its worst loss of the season Sunday in Boston, 91-72, as Rajon Rondo dominated. Miami shot only 34.8 percent from the field and LeBron failed to get an assist for just the second time in his career. Chris Bosh scored the Heat’s first four points and then didn’t score again. The Heat are 10-7 since the all-star break and 1-7 on the road against teams competing for playoff seedings.
Thunder at Heat Betting Story Lines
Miami’s previous worst loss of the season came in Oklahoma City back on March 25, 103-87 (the Thunder were -2). Durant had 28 points, nine rebounds and tied his season-high with eight assists. The Thunder forced 21 Heat turnovers (13 steals), which led to 28 points. LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Bosh combined for 15 turnovers. But they also totaled 57 points, while the rest of the Heat had 30 and shot only 13-for-32 from the field with no free-throw attempts.
Miami is arguably the best team in the NBA in transition, but the Thunder had 26 points in transition in the game, the most the Heat have allowed this season. Physical Memphis, on the other hand, slowed the game down Monday vs. OKC and allowed only two fast-break points, a season low for the Thunder. Despite Monday's loss, the Thunder's magic number for clinching the Northwest Division title is two. OKC officially clinches home court in the opening round with two more wins, two Nuggets losses, or one of each.
There’s an outside chance Miami could get back the NBA’s leading three-point shooter, Mike Miller, for this game. He hasn’t played in a game since March 10 due to an ankle injury. But Miller did participate in some of the team’s shootaround Tuesday. However, he did sit out vs. the Sixers, his 12th straight game missed. Miami entered Tuesday with a 15-game home winning streak.
Thunder at Heat Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Heat opened as 3.5-point favorites with the total at 198.5 on NBA odds. Miami is 25-26 ATS overall and 12-11 at home (both entering Tuesday). Oklahoma City is 30-23 ATS overall and 15-10 on the road. ‘Over/under’ records: OKC 26-27, MIA 22-27-2.
The Thunder are 4-0 ATS in their past four Wednesday games, while the Heat are 0-6 ATS in their past six on that night. Miami is just 1-4 ATS in its past five in the second of a back-to-back. The under is 4-1 in Oklahoma City’s past five road games. The under is 13-3 in Miami’s past 16 at home. The Thunder have covered seven straight games in Miami.
NBA Picks: Thunder at Heat Betting Prediction
For what it’s worth, the Thunder won, 96-85, in Miami last season as Durant outscored LeBron 29-19. Durant had lost his first six head-to-head matchups with LeBron but has now won two straight. It won’t be three. Even with Miami playing the second of a back-to-back, I think the Heat are totally fired up after being embarrassed in Oklahoma City. So give the points in this one.
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