Are you blindly taking the points with Miami, or are you trusting the Thunder to protect home court? I’m here to give you my NBA picks on this primetime national TV game.
NBA Picks: Heat vs. Thunder
What a way to conclude the official first half of the NBA season than with a rematch to the NBA Finals! The Heat are +4 ½ underdogs in the NBA Odds tonight against the Thunder.
Spoiled Thunder Christmas
Miami won a tight game against the Thunder on Christmas day, and got the rare back door cover as a -2 ½ favorite, winning the game late. Now the Heat are +5 underdogs on the road, a place where they have only covered 10 out of 23 games this season.
The Heat have now beaten the Thunder five times in a row both SU and ATS, and obviously, the books seem to think that streak will end tonight. The question remains do you and I? To be perfectly honest, five points does seem like a lot, but when something seems to good to be true, it normally is.
The facts are that both teams are top three in scoring, and both are in the top half of the league in points allowed. However the Thunder rule in two crucial areas, and both are areas they have exploited, and will look to exploit again tonight.
The Thunder are just outside of the top ten in the NBA in rebounds, while the Heat are dead last. Oklahoma City is also the best free throw shooting team in the NBA at nearly 83%. Tonight the Thunder will try and play solid defense, while not turning the ball over, (I’m looking at you Russell Westbrook) rebounding to prevent second chance shots and getting to the free throw line.
In their game on Christmas Day, the Thunder had a +5 rebounding margin and it will have to be more tonight if they want the win. The Thunder did dominate on the free throw line, making 32 to the Heat’s 19 freebies. As long as Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Kendrick Perkins don’t combine for another 13 turnovers between the three of them, OKC will get the cover. However, this is the Heat.
Will home cooking make a difference?
Oklahoma City is averaging an amazing 109 points per game when playing at home this season. With the exception of Houston at 110, that’s the best in the NBA. Since Houston’s defense is awful, the Thunder are the best scoring team in the NBA in my book, because they can score 109 and still hold you to less than 98 points.
The Heat are a different animal on offense however, and with Lebron James on his incredible run, laying five points looks even more like the wrong side. But James can’t sustain this run forever, and while the Thunder did give up 29 points to James the last time they met, and James routinely scored 30+ points against the Thunder in last postseason.
The Sharp Pick
Despite the fact that the Heat have won and covered five games in a row against the Thunder, Miami is 2-2 ATS in their last four games at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder on the other hand are 17-8-1 ATS when playing at home this season.
This Heat team is not playing like they were last season, even though Lebron James is and could even be playing better. The fact of the matter is the rest of the Heat have to show up tonight on the road if they want to beat OKC. I’m thinking the OKC fans and the Thunder offense will be a bit too much for Miami tonight. The Heat are only 10-13 ATS on the road this season, and even though they have improved their road record as of late (going 5-3 ATS in their last eight road games) they are due for a loss against the Thunder for sure.
NBA Free Pick: Take the Thunder -4 ½ for your NBA Picks.