It took four weeks and a visit to face the defending champions before the San Antonio Spurs were finally made an NBA underdog this season.
Oddsmakers made the host Miami Heat six-point favorites for the Thursday night battle with San Antonio. The Spurs get to play the underdog role for the first time in 2012.
Not only do both teams lead their respective conferences in wins, but they both also enter this game in top form, riding solid winning streaks. Which team will prevail in this Thursday's spotlight matchup?
While Miami has the best record in the Eastern Conference at 10-3 SU, the Heat are just 6-7 ATS and are 2-5 ATS over their last seven games. Miami is a perfect 6-0 SU at home but is 3-3 ATS with two straight ATS losses after failing to cover against Milwaukee as a 9.5-point favorite and Cleveland as a 15-point favorite in its last two home games.
San Antonio is 13-3 SU and a profitable 10-5-1 ATS this season. Usually known for their home prowess, the Spurs have actually fared better on the road than they have at home this season with a 9-1 SU and 7-3 ATS road record. San Antonio enters Thursday's game with eight straight victories on the road and a 7-1 ATS record during that stretch.
The total has gone OVER in each of San Antonio's last five games on the road and in seven of Miami's last eight games at home. Considering Miami ranks best in the NBA in offensive production (104.8 points per game) and San Antonio ranks third (102.6 points per game), an offensive showdown shouldn't surprise anyone on Thursday.
Two of the last three meetings between these two teams have gone OVER the total after an unprecedented 19 of the previous 21 meetings had gone UNDER.
Miami has crushed San Antonio in each of its last two home games against the Spurs with a 120-98 win last season and a 110-80 win in 2011. With Miami's defense struggling this season (allowing 100.3 points per game) and San Antonio's improved play on the road, it may not be that easy for the Heat this time around.
NBA Pick: Spurs +6 (courtesy of NBA-Odds.com)