Free NBA Picks: Thunder at Heat Odds
by Aaron Smith - 1/28/2014
Looking for a potential NBA Finals preview? Look no further than this featured matchup on Wednesday night’s slate. The Miami Heat are the heavy favorites in the Eastern Conference. The Oklahoma City Thunder are the favorites in the Western Conference. Miami took down Oklahoma City two years ago in the NBA Finals, and it certainly wouldn’t surprise anyone if these two teams meet to play for the title again this season.
Any time these two teams get together, there is always going to be a bunch of star power on display. The Oklahoma City Thunder are down one star for this matchup, but don’t let that make you think the Thunder aren’t a tough test for the Heat. Miami hasn’t been as consistent of late, and Oklahoma City has been on a dominant run recently. Oklahoma City comes into this game with a sparkling 36-10 record.
Thunder at Heat Betting Story Lines
There is never a shortage of story lines when these two teams get together. This time around the single biggest story heading into this game has to be the amazing play of Kevin Durant over the last few weeks. No doubt he has been the best player in the league of late. Durant has scored at least 30 points in each of the team’s last 11 games. He has scored at least 40 points in three of their last six contests.
Durant has been the subject of a lot of criticism in the past year. Almost everyone believes he is the second-best player in the NBA, but he has made it clear he isn’t willing to settle for second place anymore. Russell Westbrook went down with an injury late in December, and many assumed the Thunder would slide. Quite frankly, Durant hasn’t allowed that to happen. He has been carrying this team on his shoulders in a way that has been extremely impressive to watch. Can Durant keep it up against the two-time defending champions?
The Miami Heat come into this one with a 32-12 record on the season. Miami isn’t destroying the competition the way some expected. In fact, they are just 19-25 against the spread this season. Their recent inconsistent play has led to many questions by experts and fans alike. What should be made of this recent inconsistent play? Absolutely nothing. While so many are complaining about potential weaknesses in the play of Miami, they aren’t one bit worried with the regular season this year. What does Miami have to prove at this point? Miami has already shown they are the team to beat based on their performance in the last two years. Remember, the NBA is a grind, and the Heat aren’t going to expend full energy every single night in the regular season.
Despite their recent inconsistent play, Miami leads the NBA in field goal percentage. The Heat are shooting 50.9 percent from the floor. If you are knocking down almost 51 percent from the floor, you are going to win a lot of games. LeBron James is having another spectacular season. His numbers are just about the same as last year, and last year was quite a special season for James.
Oklahoma City is definitely the team with something to prove in this matchup. Two years ago, the Heat humbled the Thunder in the NBA Finals. The Thunder may have the most wins in the league so far this year, but the Heat have had all the postseason success. It is the Thunder who have to prove they can top the Heat when Miami is fully engaged.
Thunder at Heat NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
5Dimes lists the Heat as a four-point home favorite in this matchup of NBA powers. The posted total is set at 204 points. Oklahoma City is 7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall. They are 4-0 ATS in their last four road games. Miami is 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games. Miami is also 6-18 ATS in their last 24 games following an ATS win. Oklahoma City is 0-6 ATS in the last six meetings between these two teams.
Free NBA Picks: Thunder at Heat Betting Predictions
Oklahoma City hasn’t been able to get over the hump against Miami in the past. The Thunder have been needing late comebacks to beat mediocre teams of late, and they won’t be able to get away with that in this game. While it is definitely Oklahoma City that has more to prove, without Westbrook I see them struggling against the Heat. Miami generally gets up for big games against teams who are seen as contenders for the title. Expect the Heat to come ready to play and cover the number here.
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