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Thunder vs. Heat Odds, Expert Pick, Prediction: Monitor Miami’s Injury Report (January 10)

Thunder vs. Heat Odds, Expert Pick, Prediction: Monitor Miami’s Injury Report (January 10) article feature image
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Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on prior to the game against the Miami Heat.

  • The Miami Heat host the Oklahoma City Thunder in a nationally televised showdown on Tuesday night.
  • Miami's injury report makes this a tricky handicap, but OKC has been covering at a sterling rate all season long.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.

Thunder vs. Heat Odds

Thunder Odds +4.5
Heat Odds -4.5
Over/Under 224.5
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV TNT
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Oklahoma City Thunder kick off a four-game road trip against the Miami Heat on Tuesday. The Heat won the first contest on the road and will be at home Tuesday on a national TNT game.

The Thunder covered, however, in a close contest they ultimately lost 110-108 after trailing by 21 points in the second quarter.

Oklahoma City hasn’t played on national TV since September 2020 and some injury questions for the Heat mean the Thunder have a chance to shine on the national stage against a perennial playoff team.

Let’s see how the Thunder and Heat matchup.

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder defeated a Luka Doncic-less Mavericks team on Sunday and looked good doing so.

They started the game slow, giving up a 12-3 run by Dallas to start the game, but by the end of the first quarter Oklahoma City was only down by a point and they kept a comfortable lead for the rest of the game.

In the second quarter, they shut down the Dallas offense, holding the Mavs to just 21 points and outscoring them by 15. The Thunder did so by taking advantage of Dallas’ weakness down low, relentlessly attacking the rim and collapsing the Mavericks’ defense, leaving their shooters open on the perimeter.

The Thunder shot 41.6% of their shots at the rim (in the 84th percentile), but just 28.7% from beyond the arc versus Dallas, according to Cleaning the Glass. However, their lack of threes didn’t matter as OKC was able to hit 42.9% of the ones they did take despite just 51.3% from inside the paint.

This strategy has worked for Mark Daigneault’s Thunder, as it did against the Heat earlier this season when the two teams met. In the Dec. 14 game, the Thunder attacked the Heat’s interior and were able to find open space in the middle of the court and at the rim, lighting up the Heat defense, shooting 55.6% from the short midrange (in the 84th percentile).

On the season, the Thunder are third in Rim Rate at 39% of their total shots coming from short midrange, but as was the case in the two games against Dallas and Miami, the Thunder struggle to actually make shots, ranking last in the league at Rim Accuracy (61.5%).

This attacking style leaves shooters open on the perimeter where they fare better, ranking in the top half of the league in corner threes, shooting 38.8% as a team.

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Miami Heat

Miami is coming off a heartbreaking loss to the red-hot Brooklyn Nets on Sunday that came down to a questionable no-call on a Jimmy Butler driving layup attempt.

The Heat have been playing well lately. They’re 5-3 straight up and 6-2 against the spread in their last eight games, but their injury report will provide crucial insight in determining a handicap on this game.

Luckily for us, the Heat are famously transparent about their injury reports, so we should have plenty of time to break down this game with all the necessary information in front of us.

Oh wait, no they aren’t. The Clippers might be the only team worse than Miami when it comes to their injury reporting, but we’ll do the best we can with what we know for now.

As of the time of this writing, the Miami injury report looks a lot like their depth chart. Kyle Lowry, Caleb Martin, Duncan Robinson, Nikola Jovic and Omer Yurtseven have been ruled out, while Udonis Haslem, Gabe Vincent, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro are all game-time decisions.

Haslem has barely played and when he does, the Heat are either up by a lot or down by a lot. Vincent is tagged as probable and will likely suit up Tuesday.

Adebayo and Herro aren’t so clear-cut, although I would be surprised if we see Adebayo play after the concern over his wrist injury sustained in the Brooklyn game. I’m also leaning towards Herro not playing, although we just won’t know until we hear the announcements closer to game time, which makes them difficult to handicap.

Herro was a big part of the Heat win in December against the Thunder. His and Adebayo’s availability is crucial for the Heat in this game. Miami is 2-1-1 without Adebayo and just 3-5 without Herro against the spread this season.

Thunder-Heat Pick

I like the Thunder in this spot for a few narrative reasons as well as from a numbers and game script perspective. First, the Thunder kick off a road trip and will be extra motivated to start it off with a win against a team that won a close game on its home turf earlier this season.

This is also the Thunder’s first nationally televised game in more than two years and they’ll be looking to show off their talents on a big stage. I think we could see a big game from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, so look to a points prop for him, especially if Adebayo sits.

The Thunder also continue to be undervalued in the market, going back to last season. According to Statmuse, last year the Thunder had the second-best cover rate at 59.8% (49-30-3) behind only the Memphis Grizzlies at 61.7% (58-33-1).

The Heat were just behind them at 56% (56-43-1), however this season is a different story for Miami. The Heat are just 16-23-2 against the spread (39%), which is second-worst in the league, while the Thunder continue to be the second-best against-the-spread team in the league (24-16, 60%), this time behind the Indiana Pacers, who have just one more against-the-spread win.

Without Adebayo to guard the paint, the Heat will struggle to cover a spread of 4.5 as it currently stands. That will certainly change if Adebayo’s status is changed to out.

If both Adebayo and Herro are ruled out, take the Thunder down to a pick‘em. If just one of the two sit, I like the Thunder at anything better than 3.5. If both play, I’d look to take the Thunder in a live-bet scenario if you can get them at 10 points or better.

As it stands, I don’t think Adebayo will play and I’ll bet them at the current number to get ahead of what I believe to be an inevitable absence for the Miami big man. But if you think he plays, I don’t blame you for waiting until more news comes out.

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