NBA Picks: Pacers at Heat Game 5 Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/21/2012
Unfortunately, I have to admit that I fell into the trap as well.
It was panic city for Miami after the Heat were blown out Thursday in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series vs. Indiana. That gave the Pacers a 2-1 series lead, the Heat were still not expecting Chris Bosh back in this series, and Dwyane Wade just played one of the worst games of his life and apparently was hurt. The books went scrambling, dropping the Heat to the third-favorites to win the NBA title. I got caught up in it and pondered whether it was time to break up Miami’s Big 3 as well as predicting a Pacers victory in Game 4 on Sunday. Oops.
At least I did write that the Heat wouldn’t win unless they got about 60 points combined from LeBron James and Wade. In Sunday’s 101-93 victory, those two combined for 70, with LeBron putting up a ridiculous line of 40 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists. James and Wade scored 38 consecutive points in one stretch bridging the second and third quarters and combined to score 28 of Miami's 30 in the third quarter. Overall, James and Wade scored 43 points in the second half while Indiana scored 39 as a team.
It’s a pretty simple formula in the NBA: stars win big games. There’s a reason that no team without a superstar has won the NBA Finals in decades. So now this series is tied heading into Tuesday night’s Game 5 back in south Florida, and I’d bet anything that whichever team takes Game 5 wins the series in six games. Miami is still a -340 series favorite at Sportsbook.com with Indiana at +280.
Pacers at Heat Betting Story Lines
Game 4 was the highest-scoring total for LeBron and Wade in their playoff career as teammates. The previous high was 67 points vs. Boston last year. It was clearly LeBron’s best game in a Heat uniform. The Heat scored those 30 points in the third quarter after totaling 26 points in the third quarters of Games 2 and 3.
Over the past eight seasons, only one other pair of teammates had a playoff game in which one scored 40 or more points and the other added 30-plus in a non-overtime game: Kevin Durant (41) and Russell Westbrook (31) for the Thunder against the Nuggets last year. James and Wade contributed 69.3 percent of Miami’s total points, the highest percentage of points scored by two players for the winning team in an NBA Playoff game since Kobe Bryant (42) and Shaquille O'Neal (28) had 70 of the Lakers' 98 points (71.4 percent) in a win over the Spurs in 2004.
Bosh, by the way, has officially been ruled out for Game 5 and is still being called out indefinitely. Bosh did not travel with the team to Indianapolis for Games 3 and 4 and has been receiving treatment in Miami since the abdominal injury occurred in Game 1. Coach Erik Spoelstra said it was too early to tell if Bosh could get back for a potential Game 7, which would be Saturday in Miami.
While LeBron and Wade were the big stories of Game 4, don’t overlook what Udonis Haslem did. He hadn’t done much of anything in the first three games but had 14 points and a few key shots down the stretch of Game 4. Prior to Sunday, none of the Heat's power forwards or centers had scored more than 10 points in Bosh's absence.
Haslem, who had a total of six points in the first three games, scored most of his points after sustaining a gash over his eye that eventually needed nine stitches. He was 4-of-5 shooting from 10 feet and out Sunday, all in the fourth quarter. Entering the game, Haslem was 4-of-16 (25.0 percent) this postseason on such shots and had yet to attempt one in the fourth quarter. Haslem’s jumper with 5:56 remaining in the game was the first field goal by a Heat player other than James or Wade since a layup by Joel Anthony with 6:39 left in the second quarter.
Pacers all-star center Roy Hibbert dominated in Game 3, but he wasn’t the same Sunday with just 10 points and he was in foul trouble in the second half. David West also struggled Sunday with eight points, six boards and five fouls. Indiana Coach Frank Vogel second-guessed his decision to keep Hibbert and West on the bench for a long stretch after halftime.
Pacers at Heat Betting Odds and Key Trends
Miami opened as a seven-point favorite with the total at 180 on NBA odds. The Heat were 18-15 ATS at home during season and 10-23 on ‘over/under’. In playoffs at home: 4-1 and 2-3. Indy was 17-16 ATS on road during regular season and 18-14-1 O/U. In playoffs: 2-2 and 1-3.
Indiana is 6-0 ATS in its past six Tuesday games. The Heat are 5-0 ATS in their past five after scoring at least 100 points in their previous game. The over is 5-0 in Indiana’s past five games after allowing triple digits in the previous game. The under has hit in 12 of Miami’s past 15 after scoring 100 points or more in the previous game. The under is 6-2 in the past eight meetings in Miami.
NBA Picks: Pacers at Heat Betting Predictions
If you want to target one statistic to pick the winner in Game 5, it’s rebounding. Led by James, the Heat outrebounded the Pacers 47-38 in Game 4. In every game this series, the winning team has won the rebounding battle. I find it hard to imagine that Miami can outrebound the bigger Pacers by that margin again without Bosh. Plus, you can’t count on foul trouble for Hibbert and West again. And even with LeBron and Wade starring, the Pacers did lead Game 4 by 10 at one point. So while I’m not saying Indiana will win Game 5, I do see the Pacers covering. Also take the under.
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