Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat -4 (Total: 193.5)
You reach a point in the season, particularly in the wagering season, where stats, numbers, figures, etc; all become slightly irrelevant and convoluted. There are stats that can all but guarantee the Heat win tonight. I can also find you about a dozen that guarantee the exact same thing for the Thunder. The truth is, while “numbers never lie” they sure as heck don’t always tell the whole truth either…
Tonight’s game comes down to a pretty simple tenant; who is going to make big shots and knock down jumpers when it matters?? Can Shane Battier possibly continue his insanely hot shooting? Without a few of those big threes, the Heat are down 2-0. At the same time, how often does Nick Collinson dominate fourth quarters? Without that performance in Game One (oh, and I suppose Kevin Durant helped a little too…) the Thunder are down 2-0.
As John Barry so eloquently states on nearly every pregame show, “it’s a make or miss league.” And for all the fancy numbers and stats, he’s right. It’s a make or miss league.
So the better question is – who will make (or miss) tonight??
Let’s start with the most obvious advantage. The Heat is playing at home. Statistically, historically, hell, even logically, teams shoot a better percentage at home. That bodes well in their favor. Also, somehow obscured in the excitement that has accompanied the Finals has been the fantastic return to relevance Chris Bosh unleashed Thursday night. Now with an extra day rest to gear up for Game Three, the Heat appear to once again have their core troika of stars in full effect.
If Bosh can continue to give the Heat 15 and 15 each night, I think the Heat have a great chance to win this series. However, if the Thunder can get anything close to the Serge Ibaka was saw against San Antonio, the advantage is negated.
We made some money in Game Two bucking every single statistical trend (they all favored OKC) and back the Heat to a nice ATS and moneyline victory. I’m bucking the same trend tonight and sticking with Miami, even laying the four points. The road team is 12-4 ATS in the last 16 games between these two teams, and the Thunder are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games in Miami.
The numbers like the Thunder. But the numbers didn’t give us the truth Thursday. I think the numbers “lie” again tonight. I like the Heat to make a few more shots and edge out to a 2-1 lead in the series.
Free Pick: Miami Heat -4