NBA Betting: Heat Would Be Wise To Finish Pacers In Game 6
by Bovada Sportsbook Staff | May 30, 2014
NBA Betting for the 2014 playoffs. No one expects the Indiana Pacers, down 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals, to win in Miami on Friday night to force a Game 7 in the series, although certainly NBA bettors and fans would love to see it. The Heat are unbeaten at home in these playoffs, have routed the Pacers twice there already and opened as 6.5-point favorites on Bovada’s odds for the game. There will be live betting.
While the Heat technically have one game of wiggle room, it would certainly behoove them to finish things off Friday and not play a Game 7 back in Indianapolis on Sunday. The Heat, looking to become the first time since the mid-1980s Celtics to reach four straight NBA Finals, remain even-money NBA championship favorites. Indiana is a +1800 long shot.
Indiana’s 93-90 home win in Game 5 on Wednesday improved the Pacers to 3-0 in these playoffs in elimination games, but it was a very unusual game overall. It’s a well-known fact that superstars get preferential treatment by NBA officials. You can count the number of times on one hand that Michael Jordan fouled out, for example.
Ditto for LeBron James, and his foul trouble (finishing with five) changed the dynamic of Game 5. James played less than 11 minutes in the first half because of fouls and finished with a career-playoff-low seven points on 2-for-10 shooting in another career-low 24 minutes. LeBron’s teams are now all-time 0-9 in
the playoffs when he scores 15 or fewer points. Miami had been 7-0 in Game 5s of a playoff series when leading 3-1.
LeBron clearly was frustrated Wednesday and his aggressiveness was taken away by the officials. In fact, as the Heat were going for a potential tie in the final seconds, James drove the lane and opted to pass to Chris Bosh for a corner 3-pointer rather than attack Roy Hibbert at the rim and try to draw a foul. If James doesn’t have five fouls? Likely he goes right at Hibbert. Bosh missed the shot. James fouled out once in the 2013-14 regular season and had only two other games with five fouls. In 152 career playoff games, he has fouled out twice and gotten five fouls only nine times.
"It’s definitely something I’m not accustomed to," James told reporters afterward in a bit of an understatement.
If there was an over/under prop for fouls called on LeBron back at home in Game 6, it shouldn’t be higher than 2.5. There will be a market correction, and James is going to be ultra-motivated after being embarrassed in Game 5. He was hugely outplayed by Paul George. He finished with 37 points, 21 in the fourth quarter. That’s the most ever in a playoff quarter against Miami, breaking a record held by Jordan in May 1997. George was a terrific 12 of 19 from the field with six rebounds and six steals.
The Heat will be feeling very confident because they have won 11 straight games following a playoff loss. They are 9-0 at home in potential series-clinching games since LeBron joined the team. George is very unlikely to go so crazy again. Also, the Heat believe that big man Chris Andersen should return after missing the past two games with a bruised thigh. Andersen made a huge difference in rebounding and on helping neutralize Pacers center Roy Hibbert in Miami’s wins in Games 2 & 3. The Heat were a combined plus-23 when he was on the court those two games.
Should Indiana pull the upset, then all bets are off. The Heat have never played a road Game 7 since LeBron joined the team. The Pacers have to be happy that Dwayne Wade played 40 minutes Wednesday. His knees are still iffy and having to play again 48 hours after a heavy workload could take its toll on him. Playing again Sunday in a Game 7 would wear Wade down even more. That’s an additional reason why Miami wants to finish things Friday so Wade and Co. can get extra rest for the NBA Finals.