The Miami Heat head to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder in a Friday night matchup between two teams looking to advance their positioning in their respective conferences. Miami is coming off a big win against the San Antonio Spurs and is looking to get a winning streak going in hopes of catching the Milwaukee Bucks for the top spot in the East.
Oklahoma City is coming off a tough loss to the Raptors, and it will look to get back on track in this one.
Strangely enough, Miami is the underdog in this one, with the Thunder as the favorite at -1. Can Miami bring the heat to Oklahoma City, or will the Thunder serve the Heat a loss?
Ready To Bring The Thunder
Oklahoma City suffered a close loss against the Raptors, a tough team to play, especially with Pascal Siakam now healthy. The Thunder will look to right the ship on Friday night when they welcome the Heat to town.
Unfortunately, the Thunder will potentially be down three players on Friday night, most notably center Steven Adams. If Adams is unable to play, the Thunder will be without their leading rebounder, which is bad news when playing Miami. The Thunder are a couple games behind the Dallas Mavericks for sixth in the West, so they need to get a winning streak going if they want to catch up.
Against the spread, the Thunder have been one of the league’s best teams with a record of 27-14. Oklahoma City does one thing very well, and that’s cover a spread.
The Thunder are 9-2 against the spread in their last 11 games, with five of seven going over. The Heat and Thunder haven’t played each other this season, and both teams have changed a lot since then.
Butler And Co. Just Warming Up
Jimmy Butler got his wish granted when he was picked up in the offseason by the Miami Heat, a team that not long ago was considered one of the worst in the NBA but is now second in the Eastern Conference. The key to the Heat’s success hasn’t been just Butler, though. It’s the strong supporting cast with Kendrick Nunn, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic.
Nunn, Adebayo and Dragic led the Heat past the Spurs on Wednesday night to inch themselves back into the No. 2 spot in the East. Nunn put up 33 points, Dragic added 17 points and pushed the Heat to a home record of 18-1.
Miami is easily one of the most electrifying teams to watch in the NBA and will be looking to have another huge game against a struggling Thunder team.
As far as injuries go, of course, the Heat will be without Justise Winslow, who is out indefinitely with a back injury. Unfortunately, the Heat could potentially be down Tyler Herro, who is dealing with a knee injury and is questionable for Friday’s contest.
The Heat are another team that’s been great against the spread, boasting a record of 22-16-2. Miami is a team you can trust to cover a small spread. Pay attention to the over in this one, as the total has gone over in four of Miami’s last five games.
The Heat’s record against the Thunder against the spread, however, is pretty bad at 1-5-1 in their last seven. That shouldn’t concern you too much, however, because that was a completely different Miami team.
Pick and Prediction
As much as I like the Thunder, they’ve struggled to get a streak going, coming off a brutal loss to Toronto and potentially missing big man Adams, which is going to pose a problem against Miami.
The Heat are playing for positioning, with a tight race for second place in the East. Miami knows it needs to win big games to keep its spot.
Miami has covered well on smaller spreads, so I’ve got to go with the away team in this one. Take Miami +1.