NBA Finals Betting Preview: Miami Heat vs San Antonio Spurs

2014 NBA Playoffs
NBA Finals

#2 Miami Heat vs #1 San Antonio Spurs
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Series Price: Spurs -145 / Heat +125
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbooks

Game #1 – Thursday, June 5, 2014, 9:05 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
AT&T Center – San Antonio, Texas
Opening Line: San Antonio -4 
Current Line: San Antonio -4 1/2
Opening Total: 198 1/2
Current Total: 198 1/2
Opening Money Line: Spurs -175 / Heat +150
Current Money Line: Spurs -200 / Heat +170

The Spurs are 4.5 point favorites at home in game #1 of the NBA Finals Thursday night against the Miami Heat.
The Spurs are 4.5 point favorites at home in game #1 of the NBA Finals Thursday night against the Miami Heat.

The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs meet in the NBA Finals for the second straight year. It is the first rematch in the Finals since the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz in 1997 and 1998. Last season Miami beat beat San Antonio in seven games for their second straight NBA title. That series was highlighted by game six in Miami when the Spurs (who were up 3-2 in the series) had a 5 point lead with around 30 seconds to go. The Heat would come back to win in overtime, and also win game 7 at home.

Both of these these teams are playing for not just the title this year but their historical legacies as well. Miami is playing in their fourth straight finals and looking for the three peat. The Heat are the first team since the Boston Celtics in 1987 to play in four straight Finals, and can become the first team to three-peat since the Los Angeles Lakers in 2002. San Antonio is looking for their fifth title since 1999, but first since 2007. Amazingly, with all of their success in the last 15 seasons, the Spurs have never played in back-to-back Finals until now.

Miami won the Southeast Division and were the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 54-28 record, two games behind the Indiana Pacers. The Heat swept the #7 seed Charlotte Bobcats in the first round. Many thought Miami would struggle with the #6 seed Brooklyn Nets in the second round because the Nets swept the regular season series 4-0. The Heat won that series in five games. After losing game one on the road to the #1 seed Pacers, the Heat would win 3 straight games to take control of the series. Indiana stayed alive with a close home win in game five, but Miami finished them off with a a 117-92 rout at home in game six Friday night.

San Antonio had the best record in the league at 62-20. The Spurs won the Southwest Division and were the #1 seed in the Western Conference. San Antonio survived in seven games against the rival #8 seed Dallas Mavericks in the first round. San Antonio beat the #5 seed Portland Trail Blazers in five games in the second round. In the Western Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the home team won the first five games of the series easily. The Spurs wrapped up the series with a 112-107 overtime victory¬†in game six in Oklahoma City Saturday night. It was the first game the Spurs were involved in that wasn’t a rout on either side since game six of the Dallas series.

The two teams split the regular season series with each winning by double digits at home. Miami won 113-101 at home January 26. Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter were out for that game, and Dwyane Wade returned from injury. He came off the bench for the first time in his career for the Heat. San Antonio won 111-87 March 6 at home.

Miami is coached by Eric Spoelstra. The Heat are 47-48-2 ATS and the total is 55-42 this season including playoffs.

Miami is outscoring teams 99-92 this post-season. The Heat are shooting 49.7% from the field and 39.5% from 3 point range. Miami makes 79.2% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 46.2% from the field and 38.1% from 3 point range. The Heat average 34.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 38.1 per game. Miami averages 19.3 assists, 10.9 turnovers, 7.1 steals and 4.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 18.3 assists, 13.7 turnovers, 5.1 steals and 2.5 blocks per game.

Miami forward LeBron James is averaging 27.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.8 steals per game in the playoffs. Wade averages 18.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Center Chris Bosh averages 15.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists, a steal and 1.3 blocks per game. Point guard Mario Chalmers averages 7.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Ray Allen averages 9.1 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Michael Beasley, Udonis Haslem, Chris Andersen, Norris Cole, Rashard Lewis, and Shane Battier will also get significant minutes.

San Antonio is coached by Gregg Popovich, who won his third NBA coach of the year award this season. San Antonio is 54-46 ATS and the total is 54-42-2 this season.

San Antonio is outscoring teams 107-99 in the playoffs. The Spurs are shooting 48.2% from the field and 39.2% from 3 point range. San Antonio makes 77.3% from the free throw line. Opponents are shooting 43.9% from the field and 33.6% from 3 point range. San Antonio is averaging 43.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 42.4 per game. The Spurs average 21.3 assists, 12.2 turnovers, 8.2 steals and 3.5 blocks per game. Opponents average 18.3 assists, 13.7 turnovers, 6.2 steals and 4.2 blocks per game.

Point guard Tony Parker averages 17.2 points, 4.9 assists, and 2.4 rebounds per game. Parker is probable with an ankle injury. He missed the second half of game six against OKC. Forward Tim Duncan averages 16.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.4 blocks per game. Forward Kawhi Leonard averages 13.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Guard Manu Ginobili averages 14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.7 steal per game. Marco Belinelli, Patty Mills, Boris Diaw, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter, Cory Joseph, Jeff Ayres, and Matt Bonner will also get significant minutes.

Miami is 5-1 ATS on three or more days rest, 4-1 against teams with winning records and overall, and 0-4 against Western Conference teams. The over is 5-2 in this series overall, but the under is 11-5 in the last 16 in San Antonio between the teams.

San Antonio is 7-0 ATS at home and against teams with winning road records, 4-1 in Thursday games and after the opponent scores 100 points or more in the previous game, 7-2 after scoring 100 points or more in the previous game, 6-2 after a straight up win and a cover, 9-3 against teams with winning records and overall, 39-17-1 against Southeast Division teams, 15-7 in NBA Finals games, 51-24-1 against Eastern Conference teams. The home team is 4-1 ATS in this series and the favorite is 6-2. The Spurs are 5-2 ATS in the last 7 games at home against the Heat.

The Spurs look to win the rematch against the Heat after losing last year in such an agonizing manner. Before Chicago beat Utah in 1998, the previous four Finals rematches went to the loser of the previous series. Miami isn’t as good as they were last year, and San Antonio is a little bit better than last year. With the home court, San Antonio should win this series. However, I think Miami finds a way to win in seven again.

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