NBA Picks: Miami Heat vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Miami Heat at Oklahoma City Thunder
Sunday, 3/25/12, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Oklahoma City -1
Current Betting Line:  Oklahoma City -2
Opening Total:  200
Current Total:  201.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Oklahoma City Thunder are slight home favorites against the Miami Heat on Sunday night

Miami will put its four-game win streak on the line when traveling to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday night, coming off an impressive 88-73 win over the Detroit Pistons as nine-point road favorites.  The Heat are definitely motivated in trying to capture the No. 1 overall seed in the upcoming NBA playoffs, but will likely be battling it out for the second spot.  “I think once you get to a certain part in the playoffs, everybody’s a good road team,” commented Heat forward Chris Bosh.  The team is 15-9 on the road this year, including a 3-5 mark versus Western Conference opponents.  Miami is 5-7 ATS in March and the “under” is 8-3 in that situation.

The Heat will want to get the ball into the hands of star forward LeBron James, who averages 28.6 points in 14 career games against the Thunder.  Miami split last year’s series with Oklahoma City, with each team winning on the road.  A win tonight would give the squad a 36-11 record, which would mark the best 47-game start in franchise history.  Miami currently trails the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference standings, but is percentage points ahead of tonight’s opponent for the No. 2 overall seed.

Oklahoma City is coming off a thrilling 149-140 overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves as 10-point home favorites, while going “over” the total for the seventh time in 10 games.  The Thunder have averaged 112.1 points on 50.5 percent shooting over the last eight games, but have also alternated wins and losses versus the Las Vegas number over the last 11 games.  Playing in tonight’s venue is definitely an advantage for this youthful roster, as it comes in with the third-best home record in the NBA.  Oklahoma City is 4-12 ATS after scoring 105 points or more this season.

The Thunder are led by the talented duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the offensive end, combining to score 52.2 points per game.  They are the highest-scoring tandem in the NBA.  Oklahoma City will definitely be looking to get Durant the ball down the stretch, as he’s averaged 32.2 points over his last five games against Miami.  Westbrook hasn’t fared nearly as well in shooting 29.5 percent from the floor in the last three meetings in this series.

Bettors will likely back the Heat due to their 8-3 ATS mark on one days rest, while the Thunder are 0-5 ATS following a straight-up win.

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