NBA Playoffs 2012: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Miami Heat, Game 3 Predictions

Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat
Sunday, 6/17/12, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  ABC
Opening Point Spread:  Miami -3.5
Current Betting Line:  Miami -4
Opening Total:  194.5
Current Total:  193
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Miami Heat G Dwyane Wade needs to continue attacking the rim in the 2012 NBA Finals

Oklahoma City was unable to hold onto home-court advantage in the 2012 NBA Finals, suffering a 100-96 setback as 5.5-point home favorites in Game 2 on Thursday night.  “We have to come out better,” commented Thunder head coach Scott Brooks.  The Thunder have put themselves in large deficits in the first two games of this best-of-seven series, but was able to overcome the situation in the series opener.  Oklahoma City is 12-4 ATS off an upset loss as a favorite, with the “over” going 14-2 in that situation.

The Thunder continue to be led by the offensive duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, combining for 63 points in a losing effort in Game 2.  It’s not a surprising result considering the combo averaged 51.6 points per game during the 2011-12 regular season, surpassing LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (49.2 ppg) in that category.  There’s no doubt that the main objective in playing the next three games in South Beach is winning at least one contest, as it guarantees at least one more game at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Miami accomplished its objective of winning at least one game in Oklahoma City, but there’s still a little concern surrounding Wade, who has struggled to remain consistent throughout the 2012 NBA playoffs.  He may have scored 24 points in a winning effort last time out, but it’s become clear that he’s not the same player that led the franchise to its first-ever championship in 2006.  “I was 24,” stated Wade about the situation.  “Father Time will knock on the door, but not right now.”  The former Marquette star is averaging 22.8 points during the postseason.  Miami is 5-5 ATS when playing on two days rest.

The Heat are 13-7 in the playoffs thus far, which includes an 8-2 mark a the American Airlines Arena.  Miami is 47-16 all-time inside the venue during the postseason, while the franchise itself leads the NBA with 27 playoff wins over the last two years.  Both teams are playing at a very high level through the first two games, especially on the offensive end, shooting 47 percent from the field and combining for 28 makes from beyond the arc.  I believe that Game 3 will be the most defensive game of the series to date.

Bettors should play the total on Sunday night, with the UNDER going 3-0-1 in the Heat’s last four games as a home favorite of 4.5 or fewer points, while the Thunder have fallen short of the number in 10 of 13 games on two days rest.

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