Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) drives past Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) drives past Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Oklahoma City.|Sue Ogrocki | Associated Press
NBA

NBA Friday Pick: Heat vs Thunder — can Oklahoma City, lead by Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari, refocus against overachieving Miami?

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

1-0 Thursday, 67-70-1 overall.

Heat (+1.5) @ Thunder (216)

Pick: Thunder -1.5

I don’t think many people would have thought this game would be as intriguing as it appears now when the schedule came out. Miami has probably been the biggest overachiever in the Eastern Conference and Oklahoma City is likely the biggest overachiever out West. The Heat hold the two seed in the East as their season hits its halfway point with their 41st game against the Thunder. Oklahoma City begins its second half tonight playing its 42nd game five games clear of the playoff cut line. The Thunder are a league-best 27-14 against the spread. Guess who’s second best? That would be the Miami Heat entering tonight at 23-15-2 ATS. This should come as no surprise. When a team overachieves it’s to cover a lot of point spreads in the process either by winning games more convincingly than expected when favored or keeping games close enough as a dog. As far as tonight, we’re on the Thunder to bounce back off a loss to Toronto on Wednesday. While 27-14 ATS overall is astonishing, what we’re looking at here is the Thunder’s 10-7 ATS record off a loss. That’s a sign that Billy Donovan, and veterans Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari have the rest of the team refocused and turning the page quickly after losses. It doesn’t hurt that Miami’s strong ATS record is inflated by a much better cover rate at home than on the road. The Heat are just 9-11-1 against the number on the highway compared to 14-4-1 ATS in South Beach. We’ll bet the trends here and take the Thunder at home.

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