NBA Finals Game 1 Preview
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - The Miami Heat are currently a 4-point underdog in Game 1 of the NBA Finals and I feel that anytime Lebron and Co. is listed as an underdog, then they are certainly worth a closer look.
This is a repeat NBA Finals matchup from last year when the Heat won in 7 games after being down 3-2. During the regular season, the Spur/Heat split 1-1 with each team winning and covering, respectively on their home court. So while the amateur bettor might look at Game 1 and feel the home court trend should 'hold true', I disagree for a number of reasons.
From a value standpoint, the Miami Heat were a 1 point road favorite to a 2 point underdog when playing @ San Antonio last season in the NBA Finals. Now this line is 2-to-5 points higher and I do not think that the Spurs are much better of a team than last year. San Antonio once again dominated the regular season and has been on cruise control in the Playoffs, but now the pressure is on them with Home court advantage in the NBA Finals. Pressure burst pipes and I feel that Lebron and the Heat will be able to play more of their style of basketball in this game. While the Spurs feel they 'must-win' this first game, the Heat feel as if they only need to win either Game 1 or Game 2 in San Antonio to gain the momentum.
I like the bench of Miami to play a big role in this game. The Spurs bench/depth has been well publicized, but I would like to touch on the fact that Ray Allen and Shane Battier have come alive in the postseason and are both shooting the three-point shot at a high percentage. These two guys are proven veterans and are more than likely both playing in their last season before retirement. I say this because I feel this can be used as motivation. The Heat can shuffle their lineup around with Rashard Lewis at the power forward position for offense, and also use 'Birdman' Chris Anderson as a utility guy around the basket. I feel that HC Spoelstra has more options and generating a productive lineup that will give the Spurs problems.
Tony Parker says he is ready to play for Game 1 after suffering an ankle injury. While I imagine he will play, I still have to wonder if he is 100%. If the ankle does bother him, then he will obviously not be as effective and this should be noted as well.
We have two ways to win this game on Thursday Night when betting on the Heat. 1) The Miami Heat win the game straight-up. 2) The Miami Heat lose the game by less than 4 points. I expect to see a well-rested and focused Miami Heat team that will be led by Lebron James. The public is siding with the San Antonio Spurs in this one, and I feel this is a great time to fade the public and hop on the Miami Heat as an underdog.