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The Heat has buried their Game 1 meltdown as Miami owns a 2-1 series lead over Oklahoma City following Sunday's victory over the Thunder. The NBA Finals continue on Tuesday night at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, as the Heat goes for their third consecutive win in a playoff series for just the second time this postseason. Meanwhile, OKC looks to get on track after squandering a double-digit second half advantage in Game 3.
Miami rallied past Oklahoma City, 91-85 to cover as four-point favorites, while the game comfortably stayed 'under' the total of 193. The Heat nearly gave away the lead in the final minutes as the Thunder reeled off a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 86-85. OKC went scoreless in the last 90 seconds, while the Heat knocked down five of six free throws to help Miami backers cash.
However, if you bet on the Thunder in the first half, lightning definitely struck thanks to a Russell Westbrook three-pointer in the final seconds. The Heat didn't cash first half tickets as Erik Spoelstra's team led 47-46, as the Thunder covered as 2 ˝-point underdogs. The 'dog is a perfect 3-0 ATS in the opening half through the first three games of this series, while the first half 'under' has hit in consecutive games.
After the Thunder built a 64-54 advantage with 4:33 remaining in the third quarter, the wheels fell off the wagon. Miami used a 15-3 run to grab a two-point cushion at the end of three, while Westbrook and Kevin Durant were languishing on the OKC bench during this spurt. Durant scored only four points in the final quarter, as the Heat received 15 total points from LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in the last seven minutes to take a 2-1 series edge for the second straight Finals.
Oklahoma City has dropped consecutive games for just the fifth time all season, as the Thunder owned just one losing skid of three games (April 2-6). The last time the Thunder lost back-to-back contests came in the Western Conference Finals, as OKC trounced San Antonio, 102-82 as four-point favorites. In the only other instance that Scott Brooks' club looked to snap a two-game losing streak on the road, the Thunder fell at Indiana, 103-98 in early April.
However, the Thunder have compiled a 2-7 SU and 3-6 ATS road record this season against teams off consecutive victories. One of those covers came in James Harden's three-pointer at the buzzer in the opening game of the Western Conference Finals, as the Thunder narrowly cashed in a three-point defeat. Miami won 10 of 13 games this season against clubs off back-to-back setbacks, including a 5-0 SU and 2-3 ATS mark at home (four of the five wins came against non-playoff competition).
Prior to last year's NBA Finals, teams that won Game 3 with the series tied at 1-1 (in the 2-3-2 format) ended up claiming the championship on 11 of 11 occasions. However, the streak came to a crashing halt last June when Miami failed to win the title against Dallas in this situation after the Heat grabbed Game 3 in Texas. Game 4 has proven to be pivotal to determine a champion recently as five of the last six winners of this game hoisted the Larry O'Brien trophy (Celtics in 2010 the only team not to win it all).
From the player props perspective, Sportsbook.ag has listed a handful of these bets for tonight's contest. Durant's over/under for points is set at 29 (-115 each way), while Westbrook's total points and rebounds are also 29 (shaded to 'over' at -125). For the first time in the series, Durant was limited to below 30 points in Game 3 as the league's scoring champion put up just 25 in the loss. Westbrook combined for 35 points and rebounds in each of the first two games, but was held to 19 points and five boards in Game 3.
James looks to continue his playoff domination as Sportsbook.ag lists the total point for the three-time MVP tonight at 31 (-115 each way). The Heat superstar has busted the 31-point mark only once in the NBA Finals, but the other two games he tallied 30 and 29 points. Wade's total points and rebounds sits at 29 ˝ (-115 each way), as the former Finals MVP busted that number in each of the last two wins for the Heat.
VegasInsider.com's Chris David says instead of looking at the side tonight, another option is taking the series price, “If you believe OKC can get at least one game in Miami, then why not check out the adjusted series price of plus-170. The Thunder are plus-140 on the money line for Game 4, so you’re getting an extra 30 cents on each unit wagered and you can get out of it too by coming back with Miami if it faces elimination. If OKC gets the win tonight, it’s a three-game series with the Thunder holding the home-court advantage. Or you could do the opposite and take Miami at minus-200 odds (Bet $100 to win $50) and hope the Heat win two of the next four games."
From the totals perspective, David believes the number is dipping due to the poor shooting in Game 3, “Total players who took the ‘under’ got a nice wire-to-wire winner on Sunday. There were some chances for overtime late but in the end, but the pace was too slow. Despite getting 46 points from the free throw line neither team could buy a bucket and the foul trouble for the Thunder kept them out of a rhythm all night. The number for Game 3 opened 192 ˝ and has been bouncing back and forth between 191 and 192."
"The 85 points that OKC put up in Game 3 was the second-lowest number it’s posted in the playoffs. The Thunder never scored less than 96 points in their seven other road playoff games, which makes the output on Sunday seem even more surprising. The two clubs combined for 13 and 15 shots from 3-point land in the two games at OKC, but only eight 3-pointers on Sunday. If you add an extra 18 points to Game 3, the ‘over’ has a good shot to come in."
The number dropped from four to 3 ˝ tonight, as the Heat goes for their third consecutive cover in this series. The game tips off at 9:00 PM EST and can be seen nationally on ABC.
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