Pacers at Heat Picks and Game 1 NBA Odds
by Dave Schwab - 5/22/2013
The Indiana Pacers will try and carve out a much-needed early edge in this season’s Eastern Conference Finals when they square off against the heavily-favored Miami Heat this Wednesday night at American Airlines Arena in Game 1 of this best-of-seven series showdown. The game set to tip off at 8:30 p.m., and it will be broadcast nationally on TNT.
Indiana comes into the conference finals with an 8-4 record both straight up and against the spread in the playoffs after six-game series victories over Atlanta and New York. The total has stayed “under” in three of its last four games.
The Heat have enjoyed yet another extended break after eliminating Chicago in five games with a 94-91 victory last Wednesday night as 14-point home favorites. This was after it made short work of Milwaukee in the opening round in four games. They are 8-1 SU in nine postseason games and 6-3 ATS. The total has gone “over” in three of their last four games.
Pacers at Heat Betting Storylines
The Pacers have cruised at home this postseason with a perfect 6-0 record both SU and ATS, but they have struggled on the road at 2-4 both ways as well. The key to breaking that trend with a victory on Wednesday night on the road is to keep constant physical pressure on the Heat right from the opening tip to the final buzzer. An upset in Game 1 could change the entire complexion of this series as the first seeds of doubt would invariably creep into Miami’s head.
Indiana is averaging 92 points a game in the postseason while shooting a very pedestrian 42 percent from the field, so there is no way it can win a shootout against a scoring machine like the Heat. With players such as Paul George and Roy Hibbert controlling the boards, the Pacers would have a decent chance to win if they could meet or exceed their playoff average of 47.3 rebounds a game. Their overall defensive effort has held opponents to 95 points or less in eight of the 12 postseason games.
The last time that Miami had a week off between series it came out flat in a 93-86 Game 1 loss to Chicago as a 12.5-point home favorite. You would have to think that head coach Erik Spoelstra would have the tape of that game ingrained in his player’s heads, although they responded immediately by beating the Bulls four straight times to advance to the conference finals.
LeBron James has averaged 24 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists in nine playoffs games, and Chris Bosh has chipped in 13.2 points and team-high 8.3 rebounds, but the key this series opener could hinge on the health of Dwyane Wade’s knee. He bounced back with a huge effort in Game 5 against Chicago after having to leave Game 4. The extra rest should help. However, if some reason he goes down, that could be the great equalizer in not just Wednesday night’s game but the series as a whole.
Miami’s overall numbers in the playoffs go a long way towards backing up its gaudy record. It is averaging 98.6 points a game while shooting an extremely effective 49.1 percent from the field and 34 percent from three-point range. The one area where the Heat do not have a clear advantage over Indiana is under the boards with an average of 39.3 rebounds a game.
Pacers at Heat NBA Game 1 Betting Odds and Trends
The Pacers are 11-4 in their last 15 games playing on three or more days’ rest but only 2-6 ATS in their last eight games on the road. The total has stayed under in four of their last six games following a SU win.
The Heat are 11-4 in their last 15 games following a SU win and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games when playing a team from the Central Division. The total has gone over in five of their last six games when playing a team with an overall winning record.
Head-to-head between the two, the home team has won seven of the last 10 meetings SU and it has covered ATS in four of the last five games. The total has gone over in five of the last six meetings. Indiana won two of three games both SU and ATS during the regular season with both victories coming on its home court.
Pacers at Heat Picks and Game 1 Betting Predictions
Look for the Pacers to try and outmuscle Miami under the boards in an effort to create extra opportunities to keep this game as close as possible deep into the fourth quarter. I do not see this team coming away with the SU win in this game on the road, but the top play in this opening matchup is definitely on Indiana and the 7.5 points.
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