NBA Odds: Heavy Betting Expected for the NBA Finals
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 5/27/2011
They’re the one team everyone’s been talking about all year. Sure, other teams wrote some compelling stories, but the Miami Heat was always the star of the show. Now we get to see if LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and company can finish the job.
The Heat opens the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. As of Friday afternoon, we had the home team by 4.5 in Game 1. A number of books opened at -5, but early action on the Mavs pushed the line down.
The early support for the Mavs might come as a surprise to some people considering the way Miami finished off the Bulls in Chicago on Thursday, going on a game-ending 18-3 run to erase a 12-point deficit and win, 83-80. If that wasn’t evidence of Miami’s ability to turn the switch, I’m not sure what would be.
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Of course, the Mavs have been pretty darn impressive during the playoffs as well, particularly against the spread. Simply put, Dallas has been making its backers rich this postseason. Not to mention, a lot of bettors just think the Mavs are the better team thanks to their depth, which has always been the bugaboo for the Heat.
As an odds maker, I can’t wait to see how the betting unfolds as this series progresses. Nobody really knows how two teams match up against each other until they start playing the games, and I remember how many bettors fell completely off the Heat bandwagon when the Bulls blew Miami out in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. Just wondering, how many people expected the Heat to win the next four games? Based on the betting, I’d have to conclude it wasn’t many.
Hopefully this series between the Heat and Mavs goes the distance, or at least close it, because with the players involved it has the potential to be a classic, and that’s always a good thing for sports books.
Scottie Pippen turned the ignition to the hype machine Friday when he told ESPN Radio that he thought James had the potential to be better than Michael Jordan.
"Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to play the game," Pippen said. "But I may go as far as to say LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game because he is so potent offensively that not only can he score at will but he keeps everybody involved.”
I’m not sure if I agree with that, but it will certainly stir some passionate debates, and the more people are talking about the Finals, the more bets we’ll book at Bodog.
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