Miami Heat at Oklahoma City Thunder -5.5 (Total: 196) – Game Two, NBA Finals (OKC 1-0)
The Miami Heat dominated the Thunder for twenty four minutes Tuesday night. Unfortunately, it was the wrong twenty four. The second half belonged to the Thunder, and more specifically Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (not sure D-Wade can cover him this series…), and the Thunder stormed back from a double-digit deficit and left with a double-digit win in Game One of their first NBA Finals.
So was Game One simply the combination of the residue of a brutal and emotional seven-game war the Heat completed against Boston and the raucous, energized crowd of OKC, or did we see some mismatches exploited and some portending of trouble to come for the Miami Heat?
Here are some stats to consider when making tonight’s pick. The Heat are 0-7-1 ATS in their last eight playoff games. That’s not good. The Thunder are a perfect 6-0 ATS as the favorite. That means Miami either WINS or LOSES. Those are both intentionally capitalized. They do one or the other in a total and convincing way. It is what makes them (in my humble(d) opinion), the most difficult team in professional sports to wager on; you know the potential for spectacular triumph and ugly defeat exist at the same time heading in to every game.
One thing constant about this year’s playoff run for Miami; as soon as you kick some dirt on them or bury them, Lebron (and Wade to some extend) come back with a performance that is difficult-to-describe good; jaw-dropping, all-time legend type stuff. I think we all agree and know that Lebron has it in him, and has been sharing his talents with more than just South Beach recently; but it is Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh who are going to HAVE to contribute more tonight if the Heat want to head home even at a game apiece.
The numbers, the trends; everything, all scream THUNDER tonight. But I am going to remain stubborn, and a believer in the counter-intuitive nature of this Heat team, and pick them tonight with the five and half point cushion (but have a funny feeling they get an improbable win tonight). Going down 2-0 in the Finals is a big hole that I think Miami will be desperate to avoid falling into. They seem to play their best when, and ONLY when, they are desperate.
I like a scowling Lebron and the Heat to buck all the numbers and trends tonight and steal a nice ATS win.
Free Pick: Miami Heat +5.5