NBA Picks: Thunder -7 vs. Heat

Darin Zank

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 2:36 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015 2:36 PM GMT

Miami has won seven of its last eight meetings with Oklahoma City, going 7-1 against the spread, but of course the Heat did a lot of that damage with that guy named James on their team. Miami will have no such luxury when it hosts the Thunder Tuesday night.

Thunder-Heat Betting Odds
At the time of writing, the odds makers were waiting to line this game Tuesday morning because of the injury situations with Miami. However, the Thunder are now listed as short favorites on our NBA odds

 

Thunder-Heat: Background
Miami just went 3-2 SU, 3-1-1 ATS on a five-game West Coast road trip, after winning at Sacramento last Friday 95-83, even though Dwyane Wade missed the last two games with a bad hamstring. The Heat shot 47 percent from the field Friday, and made eight of 17 three-pointers and 17 of 21 free-throws, while holding the Kings to 43 percent shooting.

Miami opened that road trip with a loss at Portland, then beat the Clippers (as a 10-point underdog) and Lakers at Staples Center, then lost at Golden State, pushing the spread while getting 15 points.

At 18-22 Miami sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, only two games ahead of ninth-place Charlotte.

Oklahoma City is still digging itself out of the hole in fell in early this season when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were injured and out. The Thunder have won two games in a row, and 17 of their last 25, after mugging the Magic in Orlando Sunday night 127-99. OKC scored the first 13 points of the game, led by 17 after one quarter and 79-45 at the half, and breezed to the cover as a nine-point road favorite.

The Thunder shot 58 percent from the floor Sunday, while holding the Magic to just 40 percent shooting.

Last Friday Oklahoma City knocked off Golden State 127-115, shooting 53 percent from the floor, handing the Warriors just their sixth loss of this season.

At 20-20 OKC sits in ninth place in the Western Conference, now 3.5 games behind eighth-place Phoenix.

This is the first meeting between these teams this season; last season these teams split two games, each winning outright as underdogs on the others' home court. James tossed in 34 and 33 points in those games for Miami; he will not be in uniform for the Heat tonight.

 

Thunder-Heat Key Stats
OKC only ranks 21st in the league in FG shooting at 44 percent, but third in FG defense, holding foes to 43 percent shooting. The Thunder also ranks second in rebounding at +4.4 per game, but 24th in both assists at a little over 20 per game and turnovers at 14.6 per game.

Miami ranks 10th in FG shooting at 46 percent, but 22nd in FG defense, allowing opponents to shoot 46 percent. The Heat also rank just 26th in rebounding at almost -3 per game, third-worst in assists at just 20 per game, and 19th in turnovers at 13.5 per game.

 

Thunder-Heat Betting Trends
Oklahoma City is 8-13 SU, just 6-14 ATS on the road this season.

Miami is 7-12 SU, 7-11 ATS at home.

OKC has leaned toward the UNDERS this season by a 24-16 margin, as Thunder games have averaged 199 points. But they've also played three OVERS in a row, as they've scored 127 points twice.

Miami has titled toward the UNDERS by a 25-15 margin, as Heat games have averaged 191 points. Miami has also played seven UNDERS in a row, mainly because it's topped 100 points just once over that span.

 

Injury Update
Wade, F Luol Deng and F Chris Andersen have all missed recent action for the Heat with various ailments, but all three could play Tuesday night. So far this season Miami is 13-17 SU, 14-16 ATS with Wade, 5-5 SU and 4-4-2 ATS without him.

 

Thunder-Heat Free Pick
Oklahoma City is improving, with its Big Two back in action, while Miami is a night-to-night proposition. Wade, Deng and Andersen could all play tonight, or they could all miss the game, or some combination of the three. The Heat have actually been a slightly better bet this season without Wade.

OKC is coming off two very nice performances, and while we might be tempted to fade a team in such a situation, the Thunder, when healthy, are one of the league's elite. So we'll go with Oklahoma City as our NBA pick.

Free NBA Pick: Thunder against the spread at BetOnline

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