NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday 6/21

NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday 6/21

Heat at Thunder Game 5: What Bettors Need to Know

Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat (-3, 193.5)

Miami Heat superstar LeBron James has had to deal with critics, fan backlash and his own impossibly high standards throughout his career. Tuesday night, he overcame a brand new challenge as leg cramps left him in severe pain in the waning moments of a 102-96 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. James is expected to be in the lineup Thursday as he aims for his first career NBA title when the Heat entertain the Thunder in Game 5.

ABOUT THE THUNDER: A 43-point performance by Russell Westbrook still wasn't enough to lift the Thunder to victory, leaving them needing three straight wins to secure their first NBA championship. No team in league history has ever rallied from a 3-1 deficit to prevail, but superstar Kevin Durant says his team won't quit until the Heat clinch the title. "We're going to keep fighting," he said. "Frustrating to lose like that. It was just frustrating. But we're going to keep fighting, man. That's how we've been since I got here. We're going to keep fighting and just take it a possession and a game at a time."

ABOUT THE HEAT: Miami fans were spooked when guard Dwyane Wade got up favoring his back after hitting the court hard earlier in the night. He was fine, but James was not after falling during a drive to the basket and limping around until he was finally subbed out. James suffered cramping in both legs that limited his effectiveness, but he still knocked down a pivotal 3-pointer and doesn't expect to be hobbled in the Heat's first crack at a series win over Oklahoma City. "You had to play with an intensity that you had nothing left," Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said. "He didn't. He was playing at an incredible pace."


- Heat are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 home games.
- Over is 7-2-1 in Heat's last 10 overall.
- Thunder are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings in Miami.


1. Westbrook joined Rick Barry as the only players 23 or younger to score at least 43 points in a Finals game. Barry reached the mark three times.

2. James has scored at least 15 points in the paint in all four games of the Finals. He didn't reach that total in any of the six Finals games last year against Dallas.

3. Thunder G James Harden has a bruised left hand but is expected to remain in the lineup for Game 5. Harden is shooting just 35 percent in the Finals.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday 6/21

Game 5, Thunder-Heat
By Kevin Rogers

The Heat will play their final home game of the season coming up tonight as Miami hopes to finish off the NBA Finals against Oklahoma City. The Thunder threw away another double-digit cushion on Tuesday, squandering a 17-point first half advantage in a 104-98 defeat as three-point road underdogs, while getting pushed to the brink of elimination.

Miami jumped out to huge leads in each of the first two games of this series at Chesapeake Energy Arena, as the Heat managed to hold off the Thunder in Game 2. When the venue shifted to South Florida, Oklahoma City built a 10-point third quarter advantage in Game 3 before falling, 91-85 in Game 3. However, the Game 4 meltdown definitely hurts for Scott Brooks' club, who let a 33-16 lead evaporate in a four-minute stretch, thanks to a 19-2 Heat run to tie the game at 35-35. OKC managed to take a 49-46 advantage into the locker room at halftime, as the road team cashed first half bets for the fourth straight contest (Thunder as two-point 'dogs in Game 4).

The Heat built as much as a seven-point lead in the third quarter, including the final eight points of the period by LeBron James. OKC stayed in the game thanks to Russell Westbrook's career playoff high of 43 points, including 14 scored in the fourth quarter. However, the hero in the final 10 minutes turned out to be Miami's point guard, as Mario Chalmers put up 12 points to help the Heat overcome the loss of James in the last 58 seconds of regulation due to cramping.

The three-time MVP is expected to be at full strength tonight, while the same can't be said for Thunder guard James Harden. The Sixth Man of the Year is dealing with a bruised left hand, as the former Arizona State standout has shot just 4-for-20 from the floor in the last two games. Taking away Harden's ineffective performance in Game 4, the Thunder shot 52.2% from the field, while the team knocked down 15 of 16 free throws in the defeat.

Erik Spoelstra's squad easily cashed as four-point favorites in the second half by outscoring the Thunder, 58-49, while the total of 97 pushed at most books. The home team has now covered the second half in all four games of the series, as the Thunder will try to overcome what history says to be an insurmountable deficit.

Thirty times in NBA Finals history and eleven instances since the 2-3-2 format was instituted in 1985 has a team led three games to one. In all thirty opportunities, the club up 3-1 hoisted the Larry O'Brien trophy, while the last home team in this situation looking to close at home was the 2004 Pistons. Detroit won the middle three games of the series at the Palace of Auburn Hills over Los Angeles, as Miami tries to avoid a return to trip to Oklahoma City for a potential Game 6 on Sunday.'s Chris David doesn't want this exciting NBA Finals to end tonight, "Personally, I'd like to see more two more games between these teams because all the first four installments have been very competitive. The difference in the series is Miami's execution down the stretch, which has been flawless the last three games. Despite the momentum, history is on the Thunder's side to extend the series. Since the Association switched to a 2-3-2 format in 1985, there have been only five teams to sweep the middle three games of the finals and only two of them did so at home, one of them being Miami during its 2006 championship run."

Depending on what which way you want to bet tonight, David suggests a series price wager on the Thunder, "If you believe Oklahoma City can keep the series alive, then I would advise a strong look on the series price, which is close to 4/1 odds (Bet $100 to win $400). If the Thunder get back home, you can come back with the Heat on the money-line, which will probably be hovering around a 3/2 price (Bet $100 to win $150). Or you can take the points with Miami in Game 6 and hope they lose, but cover the number. If OKC wins again, you can get hedge once again in Game 7. All these strategies depend on one thing, OKC winning Game 5."

From the totals perspective, David analyzes the Game 5 number, which didn't move much from Tuesday, "The 'over' improved to 2-1-1 after Game 4 jumped 'over' the closing number of 193. Miami drilled a series-high 10 triples from downtown, which certainly helped. Oklahoma City still hasn't been able to have a consistent game where it breaks 20-plus points in all four quarters. The stumbling block in Game 4 was a 16-point second quarter, which fortunately for them came after a 33-point first. Oddsmakers have kept the total in the same ballpark for Game 5 and I wouldn't be surprised to see the betting public close the number at 194. The pace hasn't been up-tempo but both teams have shown some serious surges."

"Knowing Oklahoma City has scored 96 points or more in eight of its nine road playoff games this year it makes me believe a team total 'over' look of 95.5 has value, especially with elimination on the line. This isn't a veteran club that's going to get pulled by their coach. These young kids are going to keep hoisting until the final buzzer, plus we still haven't seen a great performance from OKC's offense. If this team ever hits a crazy percentage from the field, they'll cash this 'over' ticket early, leaving you plenty of time to buy drinks at the bar before the game ends, maybe even order a bottle of wine!"

Miami will look to crack open the champagne with things tipping off at the American Airlines Arena at 9:00 PM EST, as the game airs nationally on ABC. As of this morning, the Heat sits as three-point home favorites to close out their second championship in franchise history, not their third, fourth, or fifth, according to James.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday 6/21

NBA Preview

Oklahoma City @ Miami (3-1)

-- Either way, Oklahoma City is going home after this game; the question is whether they're making Miami go back with them. Teams down 3-1 in NBA Finals are 0-30 in series, so steep hill for the Thunder to climb, but if they win this game, at least they go home to play Games 6-7.

-- Thunder is 4-5 on road in the playoffs; Miami is 10-2 at home. Heat is 7-2 vs spread in game following a win in same series.

-- Over the last 16:00 of Game 4, Thunder players other than Durant or Westbrook went 0-7 from the floor. Sefolosha keeps getting open looks on arc and he keeps missing. He's not open by accident; Miami prefers that he shoots, because he's not a great shooter.

-- Oklahoma City beat the Spurs because their role players played great, but Harden is in a funk, going 2-10 including a miss on a breakaway as he wasn't confident enough to shoot from the right with his right hand. If he doesn't regain his form in this game, the season is over.

-- Thunder has actually played better in Games 3-4, they just didn't win; their FG% went up to 48.8% last game, as Westbrook ran amuck with 43 points, seven boards, five assists.

-- Miami is 28-72 from arc in four games; Battier is 12-19, rest of squad is 16-53.

-- Over is now 7-2-1 in last ten Miami games.

-- As far as Lebron's cramps, not sure if they'll be a factor in this game. They got away with him not playing much at end of Game 4, though it was his 3-pointer than put them ahead for good.

-- The biggest question is impossible to quantify; does Oklahoma City believe they can win? They've come close but haven't finished well this series. If they can steal this game, they get home court advantage back, but someone other than Durant/Westbrook has to step up and do it.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday 6/21

OKLAHOMA CITY (60 - 25) at MIAMI (61 - 27)

Top Trends for this game.
OKLAHOMA CITY is 46-38 ATS (+4.2 Units) in all games this season.
OKLAHOMA CITY is 77-56 ATS (+15.4 Units) in road games over the last 3 seasons.
OKLAHOMA CITY is 51-31 ATS (+16.9 Units) in non-conference games over the last 3 seasons.
OKLAHOMA CITY is 39-23 ATS (+13.7 Units) revenging a loss vs opponent over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
MIAMI is 5-5 against the spread versus OKLAHOMA CITY over the last 3 seasons
MIAMI is 5-5 straight up against OKLAHOMA CITY over the last 3 seasons
5 of 10 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

Oklahoma City is 13-6 SU in its last 19 games
Oklahoma City is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing Miami
Miami is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Oklahoma City
Miami is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games

Oklahoma City at Miami
Oklahoma City: 14-5 ATS off BB road games
Miami: 14-4 Under at home after winning 3 of their last 4 games

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