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NBA Betting Preview and Free Play: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Miami Heat – February 22, 2021

by Ayden Fahlstrom | February 22, 2021 |

An East vs West NBA tilt is set to take place as the Miami Heat are closing out their current Western Conference road trip against the OKC Thunder. After three straight losses, the Heat have turned things over the past two games with wins over the LA Lakers and Sacramento Kings. The Thunder have lost six of their last eight games but snapped a three game losing skid to the Cleveland Cavaliers

Miami Heat Preview: Jimmy Butler is turning things around 

The Heat have struggled to a tune of (13-17) on the season due to injuries and Covid-19 protocols and find themselves sitting  10th in the Eastern Conference. This was a team that finished second in the NBA a season ago losing to the Lakers (4-2) in the NBA Finals. 

Miami has won two in a row and are coming off a big win defeating the Lakers (96-94). This team has had difficulty finding any kind of consistency in the early going, but they are hoping they can extend this mini-win streak and get back into the playoff hunt. 

Jimmy Butler’s return to the lineup since his lengthy layoff from Covid-19 has been nothing short of amazing. In the Heat's last twelve games, Butler is averaging 21.1 points per game, 9.0 rebounds, and 8.7 assists and almost 2.0 steals per game. This team having their leader back and taking control of games has been crucial for their growth as he’s nearly averaging a triple double.  

Oklahoma City Thunder Preview: Stuck in the middle 

The OKC Thunder, who hold a (12-18) record in the early going, find themselves 13th in the Western Conference. Falling behind in the Western Conference that is especially deep usually means that you're playing for the lottery, and this team has a whirl of young talent and is building for the future as those expectations seem realistic. 

Guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been on the shelf missing the team's last four games. OKC relies on Gilgeous-Alexander to keep them competitive game in and game out, but it’s been a difficult stretch without their star talent. They have avoided living at the bottom of the conference as they have been able to sneak in some quality wins that they had no business winning. 

The lone veteran and recent all star forward Al Horford is putting together quite the season averaging 14.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists on the season. Wear and tear on his body continues to be the issue as he has battled injuries early on but his presence has been important for this team during Gilgeous-Alexander’s absence.  

Miami Heat vs OKC Thunder Betting Lines and Odds: 

My bookie has the Miami Heat as -6 point road favorites to close out the road trip with over/under coming in at 211.5. The Heat are slowly returning to 2020 bubble form but the Thunder will pose as a difficult match up.

Sitting 6 games under .500 and missing their key cog in the lineup the Thunder are going to be vying for a win and a potential upset over the more talented the Heat. Without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander basketball fans should expect to see all Miami in this contest. 

Spooky Express Free Betting Pick: Miami Heat -6

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