2014 NBA Finals Series Odds and Prop Bet Predictions
by George Monroy - 6/3/2014
The NBA Finals are set after both the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs dispatched their Conference Finals opponents in six games. The 2014 playoffs began with nearly every top-seeded team on the verge of being upset in the first round. At one point, a Portland Trail Blazers versus Washington Wizards finals matchup was a reasonable possibility. However, order was restored in the second and third rounds, and now we have the matchup that most people expecting from the very beginning.
The Heat versus Spurs series will be the first finals rematch in consecutive years since Chicago and Utah meet in back-to-back seasons in 1997 and 1998. The Finals is set to begin on Thursday, June 5, at 9 p.m. EST from San Antonio. However, before the series begins, let's take a closer look at a few betting options for the 2014 NBA Finals.
Game 1 Odds
Spurs: -4; Heat: +4 (Sportsbook.ag)
Moneyline: Spurs -175, Heat +155
The Spurs went 3-0 and 2-1 ATS during their Game 1s in the Western Conference bracket, while the Heat went 2-1 both ATS and SU. Historically, the home team has won seven of the last eight Game 1s, with San Antonio being the only team during that span to steal the game in 2013. Miami may be looking to return the favor, but it does not necessarily need to win the first game to win the entire series. Taking the Spurs minus the points may be the best way to go simply based on the past trends.
The Spurs have every reason to win this series-they want revenge, they are the better team, and both Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan desperately want another ring before they both call it a career-the only problem is that Miami has one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game on its roster. And historically, the all-time greats usually win these matchups. The difference between the Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder is that LeBron James is the unquestioned leader of his team and does not defer to anyone-unlike Kevin Durant, who has to navigate around Russell Westbrook.
On paper, picking the Spurs is the way to go. The only problem is that in the NBA a single player can win an entire series by himself. There are very few players that have the talent to do so. However, James is one of them. Getting the Heat at +110 is the wager to make.
Exact Series Results Odds
Heat in four: +1800
Heat in five: +800
Heat in six: +400
Heat in seven: +600
Spurs in four: +1300
Spurs in five: +550
Spurs in six: +450
Spurs in seven: +280
The Spurs in seven or Heat in six are the two most likely outcomes for this series. The NBA Finals format will switch from the old 2-3-2 to the standard 2-2-1-1-1 format, which makes things much easier for Miami. The Heat will now play a potential Game 6 in Miami in the new format instead of in San Antonio in the old one. In the last seven years, only two teams have managed to win both Games 1 and 2, and the most-likely scenario will be a split series heading into Games 3 and 4 in Miami. Game 5 will most likely be the key game in this series, and if Miami can steal that one, it has an excellent shot at ending the series in six games.
Game 1 Props Odds
Largest lead of the game
"Over-under" 15.5 points
Typically Game 1 of the NBA Finals ends in a blowout. The average margin of victory for the home team over the last eight years has been a whopping 10 points. Five of those matchups featured large leads over the course of the game, so there is a chance that this game gets out of hand at some point. During last year's finals matchup, four of the seven games were decided by 10 points or more. The biggest lead in 2013's Game 1, however, was only nine points in the middle of the second quarter, and the contest stayed within seven points the rest of the way. These teams know each other well and will probably play a close first game. Take the under on 15.5 points.
Team to have the highest scoring player
James is almost a shoe-in to get his 28 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. The question is can anyone on the Spurs team manage to score 25 points or
more during the Game 1 matchup? San Antonio only had a player score more than 24 points in two of its six Western Conference Finals games, while the Heat
received 25 or more points from a player four times in six Eastern Conference Finals games. The Spurs can win games with a balanced offense, while the Heat
needs James, Wade or Bosh to have big nights in order to win. Take Miami minus the points.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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