NBA Finals Picks: San Antonio vs. Miami Series Predictions
by George Monroy - 6/4/2013
The Miami Heat are in the NBA Finals — again — after eliminating the Indiana Pacers in one of the most thrilling Eastern Conference Finals matchups in recent memory. As much as America wants to hate the Heat, was there anyone outside of Indiana that was actually rooting for the Pacers to pull of the upset and deprive us of the fantastic matchup we will now be getting as Miami faces off against the San Antonio Spurs?
This series has historical ramifications written all over itself. Tim Duncan is chasing his fifth NBA title — 14 years apart no less — a perfect 5-0 Finals record, and he has the title of the greatest player of his generation hanging in the balance. For the Heat, a second straight title in a three-year span is at stake, something only six teams have done in the last 45 years. For LeBron James, it’s a chance to win his second title. However, more importantly, it’s a chance to avoid going 1-2 in the NBA Finals over the last three years. James is chasing history and is theoretically gunning for the “greatest of all time” moniker, and losing another NBA Finals would almost make it impossible for him to reach Jordan status.
Let’s take a closer look at the Heat versus Spurs matchup and a few of the wagers that a bettor can make on this series. All odds and lines come from Sportsbook.ag
Game 1 Lines:
San Antonio Spurs: +5.5, Moneyline: +210
Miami Heat: -5.5, Moneyline: -250
Historically, the Game 1 favorite in the NBA Finals covers the spread the vast majority of the time. Since 2004, only one road team has covered the spread during Game 1 of the Finals, and the others usually get beaten by seven points or more. However, the Heat have lost their last two Game 1s and are 1-2 against the spread in those situations. Miami has not looked like their usually spectacular selves this postseason, so there is definite value on the Spurs covering the spread in Game 1.
San Antonio and Miami do not have much of a history together during the “Big 3” era. That’s because every time the teams have played a major player is either hurt or sitting out because of a coach’s decision. On paper the Spurs match up well against the Heat as they can score the ball, play tough defense, and have a number of bodies to throw at LeBron James. If Miami struggled against Roy Hibbert in the paint, imagine how much trouble Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter are going to give them?
There is excellent value wagering on the Spurs at +185, but the question comes down to what would you rather risk, $215 on the Heat or $100 on the Spurs? However, regardless of what side you wager on, this will be a competitive series that has a chance at going seven games.
Heat in four: +600
Spurs in four: +2500
Heat in five: +300
Spurs in five: +1200
Heat in six: +350
Spurs in six: +550
Heat in seven: +300
Spurs in seven: +700
According to the odds, the bookmakers have no idea how long this series will last, as Heat in Games 5, 6 or 7, are essentially getting the same odds. Both teams have extensive Finals experience and can win on the road, so wagering on either side in six or seven games seems to have the most value. Remember to bet wisely, and may the spread be with you.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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