The Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder will go head-to-head tonight in what many think could be a rehearsal for the NBA Finals, writes Unibet columnist Mark Woods...
Miami Heat 2.20, Oklahoma City Thunder 1.68 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 01.05 GMT
Could the Miami Heat’s trip to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday be a rehearsal for the NBA Finals? You bet it could.
And while it’s just one regular season game out of 82, there’s the added spice of a duel between the two prime candidates for MVP, LeBron James and Kevin Durant with the former seemingly taking the challenge to his supremacy personally in recent weeks.
Over his last seven games, James has averaged 30.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, not much shy of Durant who has claimed 33.1 and 8.3 over the same stretch. With voting taking place at the close of the regular season in eight weeks time, whomever comes out on top here will have a major boost to their hopes.
But with Russell Westbrook set to return for OKC, we’ll also get an insight into how the sides might match up if they face off again in June. Even in his absence, Miami, 3.60 favourites for the title, were thrashed 112-95 when the Thunder came from 18 points down to win last month, illustrating the Heat’s defensive frailties.
Although Oklahoma City – 5.00 for the championship - might have a period of adjustment while Westbrook is reintegrated, with Durant’s scoring numbers likely to drop, both teams will look as this an opportunity to test each other and assess strengths and weaknesses.
There’s no doubt the victor will enhance their title credentials, with Miami 2.33 for the road win. But look over the line of 207.5 total points at 1.95 with OKC ready to lay down a marker.
Milwaukee Bucks 2.50, Denver Nuggets 1.53 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 01.05 GMT
When you’ve lost five straight games, there’s no-one you’d rather have next on the schedule than the Milwaukee Bucks. But it’s a measure of how badly the Denver Nuggets have toiled lately that they’re only favoured by -4.5 on the handicap at 1.98 to end their slide.
Denver’s last four losses on the road came by an average of 27.5 but they looked a little more cohesive in Tuesday’s overtime reverse in Phoenix.
And even with the Bucks coming off a rare win, back the Nuggets to strike gold.
Best bet: Go over the line of 207.5 total points in Thunder-Heat at 1.95