NBA Basketball Preview: Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers

NBA Basketball Preview:  Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers

After the Indiana Pacers earned a split in their NBA Eastern Conference Finals series with the Miami Heat in South Florida the favorite reasserted their dominance with a devastating Game 3 performance to take a 2-1 lead in the best of 7 set. LeBron James and company will now look to extend their advantage to 3-1 as they play Game 4 against the Pacers back in Indianapolis. The Heat opened a -2 point road favorite and have been bet up to a -3 choice with the total set at 184′.

During the 2013 NBA playoffs the defending champions have generally looked pretty sharp but at times have needed a ‘wake up call’. They got one in the opening game of their Conference Semifinal series against the Chicago Bulls, losing on their home floor. After that the Heat won four straight covering three. Following two closer than expected games in South Florida–including the aforementioned Game 2 loss–Miami could be back in the ‘taking care of business’ mode here. That spells bad news for Indiana who looked almost helpless against the Heat superstars in Game 3.

Indiana has been a very good betting proposition during the 2013 playoffs going 10-5 against the spread. They’re much better as a favorite than as an underdog where they’ve gone 16-21 ATS this year but on the other hand in this role–as a home underdog of less than three–they’re 3-1 straight up and against the spread. They’ve also been a very competitive opponent for Miami in the past three years going 10-9 ATS against the Heat. On the Pacers’ home floor the Heat hold a slight advantage going 5-4 against the spread.

Trends and situational records tell us only part of the story, however, and in our view Miami is simply too good for a plucky Indiana team. The Heat sometimes lose focus and intensity but when they bring their ‘A Game’ there’s no one in the NBA that can stop them. Indiana got their attention with a Game 2 win and now the Heat have refocused and should make short work of the Pacers here. Look for the Heat to win and cover and head back to Miami with a 3-1 advantage and an opportunity to eliminate the Pacers on their home floor.