In a rematch of the 2012 NBA Finals, and what might be a preview of this year's championship round, the Heat and Thunder meet for the first time this season.
Miami has won six straight meetings, after sweeping last year's regular-season series and winning Games 2 through 5 in the NBA Finals two seasons back.
And there are trends supporting a bet on the Heat, even if the computer is picking the upset.
Miami opened as four-point favorites, with the total sitting at 203 in early wagering. (Line updates and matchup report details)
Odds Shark Computer Prediction
101-99 Oklahoma City
Why the Thunder Can Cover the Spread
Because Kevin Durant is now being lauded as the league's best player, there's only one game in which he needs to prove it, against one team in a game that must be won.
Durant has scored 30 or more points in 11 consecutive games and is averaging 31.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 38.1 minutes per game.
The Thunder are 7-1 against the spread overall and 5-1 ATS in rare cases where they are underdogs.
Why the Heat Can Cover the Spread
Pride leads the list of reasons Miami should cover this spread. LeBron James isn't one to just let someone come into his house, steal his tag as "league's best player" and embarrass him on his court.
He is the four-time MVP, and he will take this game personally, no matter how much he says it's about the two teams.
It says something about Miami that they have won 10 straight at home as a small favorite. It means they defend home court vigorously against the NBA elite. They are also 5-0 ATS at home against the Thunder.
The Western Conference-leading Thunder have won eight in a row and lead the league in wins (36). And James probably should have never said that no one can guard Kevin Durant without help.
The King looked more like a jester in letting his guard down before this game. James' teams are 13-3 against Durant and company, but that ratio could begin shrinking rapidly. The picks computer is right: Take the underdog.
Oklahoma City No. 2
Miami No. 15 (per Odds Shark NBA Power Rankings)
- Oklahoma City is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games
- Miami is 5-0 ATS in its last five at home against Oklahoma City
- Thunder is 5-1 ATS past six games as an underdog
- Heat is 10-0 SU, 9-1 ATS past 10 home games when favored by four or less points
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!