Insider’s Guide to Handicapping the 2012 NBA Finals
The Miami Heat have raced-out to a 2-1 series lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder in this season’s best-of-seven NBA Finals, but fully realizes it still needs two more wins to lock-up a long, sought-after world title.
These two preseason favorites have proven themselves worthy of playing in this ultimate showdown, but Tuesday night’s Game 4 now becomes a crucial turning point for both teams.
The following is brief look at each team’s performance so far in this series along with some current betting trends that should provide an inside tract to gaining an edge on handicapping the next two games of this series.
Oklahoma City Thunder Team Overview
Things were definitely looking up after an 11-point victory in Game 1 as a five-point home favorite, but Oklahoma City now realizes that it is in a serious dog fight against an opponent that does not understand the word quit. Statistically, the Thunder have a fairly decent 43 percent shooting percentage from the field in the last two games but they have been outrebounded 84-74. Oklahoma City went 6-for-14 from three-point range last Thursday night but was a dreadful 4-for-18 in Game 3.
If the Thunder are going to have any chance to extend this series back to Oklahoma City for a Game 6 and possible Game 7, they are going to have to find a way to protect leads and play a full four quarters of basketball. Kevin Durant knocked-down 36 points in Game 1 and 32 points last Thursday night, but got into foul trouble in the third quarter on Sunday night and was held to 25 points.
The Thunder are now 13-5 straight-up in the playoffs and 11-6-1 against the spread. The total stayed ‘under’ the 193-point line in Game 3 of this series, but had gone ‘over’ in five of their previous seven games. One telling stat this season is the fact that Oklahoma City is 2-7 SU when scoring less than 90 points a game.
Miami Heat Team Overview
Miami knew that it needed to split the first two games of this series in Oklahoma City and responded with a huge 100-96 victory in Game 2 as a 5.5-point road underdog after dropping the first game 105-94 as a five-point road dog. With the next three games in South Beach, the Heat were able to carve-out the early edge with a gutsy 91-85 win on Sunday night as four-point favorites.
They trailed by double figures in the third quarter of that game, but took control down the stretch behind a 31-for-35 effort from the foul line. This was able to make-up for the team’s 37.8 percent shooting from the field and 30.8 percent shooting from three-point range. It also helped that Miami outrebounded the Thunder 45-38.
In the first three games of this series, LeBron James has led the Heat with 91 total points and 31 rebounds. Dwyane Wade had a big night Sunday with 25 points to add to his 19 points in Game 1 and 24 points in last Thursday night’s Game 2. Miami is now 14-7 SU in the postseason and 13-8 ATS. The total has gone ‘over’ in six of their last nine games.
The Thunder are 20-9 ATS in their last 29 games following a SU loss and 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight playoff games as underdogs. The total has gone ‘over’ in five of their last seven road games.
The Heat are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games as home favorites and 19-8 ATS in their last 27 playoff games as favorites. The total has gone ‘over’ in four of their last five games following a SU win.
Oklahoma City is still 7-2 ATS in its last nine games in Miami, but is 3-4 both SU and ATS in the last seven meetings overall The total has gone 1-1-1 in this series but it has stayed ‘under’ in nine of the last 13 games in Miami.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.