NBA Finals Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat

NBA Finals Preview:  San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat

San Antonio took care of business at home winning two of the three games and now will have two cracks at winning the NBA Championship on the road as they head back to Miami. The Heat need to win both games to defend their title but their more immediate concern is staving off elimination with a victory in Game 6. Both teams have looked alternately very good and very ordinary at various points in the series so there’s any number of possible scenarios in Games 6 and 7.

The price on this game–the Miami Heat are a -7 point favorite–obviously reflects the ‘must win’ situation that Miami is in. One important concept in sports handicapping is that more often than not going *against* teams in a ‘must win’ situation is a strong winning position but let’s break down the specifics of this matchup. There’s only been one close game in this series–Game 1 which the Spurs won by 4 points–with the four remaining contests decided by double digits. Thus if you think the Heat will live to fight another day the trends in this series validate laying a price. Miami has also been a strong investment off a loss not only during the playoffs but dating back to the regular season–the Heat have now won and covered 12 straight games coming off of a loss. The Heat are also 7-1 SU/ATS since 2011 when trailing in a playoff series.

Miami has a small edge in head to head play at home–they’ve won 4 of the last 5 meetings covering three of these games but San Antonio is a decent road team going 30-20 SU/27-23 ATS. The Spurs have been at their worst as a road underdog in this price range (+6.5 to +9 points) losing 6 straight in this role covering only one. That notwithstanding, these teams are too evenly matched to lay this price. Miami may win and push the series to a decisive Game 7 but they’re simply laying too many points here. San Antonio is certainly capable of winning this game outright and there are no shortage of ways that Miami can win this game but not cover the number. We’d rather have this sizable pointspread working for us than against us so the Spurs are the play.