A BTB Forum member asked if the Miami Heat +5.5 at the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight is the “proverbial trap bet,” and the first reply said that it was.
Since then, the line jumped up to 5.5 despite SportsInsights saying that 69 percent of the public is backing the Heat as road underdogs. By now you’ve probably heard us say this before, but here it is again: “Always beware of the popular underdog, especially when the line is moving in the opposite direction.”
So, is it a trap bet? Let’s look at some facts.
- The Heat have only been underdogs three times this season, and never by more than three points. They’re 2-1 both straight-up and against the spread as underdogs.
- The last time the Heat were underdogs of more than five points was on April 24 and April 26 of last season, the final two games of the regular season when all of their starters were resting and they lost by double digits in both contests.
- The last time the Heat were underdogs of this many points with LeBron James in the lineup was … never.
- The Thunder lost to the Jazz on Tuesday, and they’re the NBA’s best team coming off a loss (10-2 ATS this season and 64.6% ATS since 2008).
- The Heat are only 12-14-1 ATS as underdogs since LeBron and Dwyane Wade joined forces.
Our gut instinct is that, yes, this line smells a little fishy and there’s a reason why it’s not moving back down despite the majority of action on Miami.
Sharper bettors like the Thunder, and they’re dictating the market.
Miami has a comfortable lead in the Eastern Conference and is well on the way to claiming the No. 1 seed, so their motivation will be in question with All-Star Weekend looming.
There are just too many reasons to stay away from the Heat.
Our pick: Thunder -5.5. (But we’ll wait for in-game instead because LeBron James scares us to death right now.)