NBA Finals Betting: Game 1

NBA Finals Betting: Game 1

After a few days of well-deserved rest, the Heat and Spurs take the court on Thursday night in San Antonio for Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals. The Spurs had Miami on the ropes in the 2013 Finals, leading by five points with less than 30 seconds left in Game 6 with a 3-2 series lead. Of course the Heat rallied and eventually took home a second consecutive title. Tim Duncan is confident things will go differently this time around, but dethroning King James is easier said than done. These teams split two regular season meetings with each winning by double-digits at home. Here’s a breakdown of Game 1 action, which tips shortly after 9pm Eastern time.

MIAMI AT SAN ANTONIO -4.5

The Heat had little trouble mowing through a weak Eastern Conference playoff field. Charlotte and Brooklyn offered little resistance, and Indiana never really posed a threat after fading down the stretch of the regular season. This should take nothing away from Miami’s success or abilities, but San Antonio will represent their stiffest competition yet. They can ill afford lapses in concentration or defensive effort, because the Spurs rarely lose focus and have won nine of ten at home in the postseason.

The Big Three obviously need to play well for the Heat to seize a third straight championship, but role players like Ray Allen, Chris Andersen, Shane Battier, and Mario Chalmers must contribute against the league’s deepest bench. Neither team wants to run ‘n’ gun, but San Antonio would prefer a faster pace to take advantage of their superior depth and to wear down the Heat starters. LeBron is LeBron. In other words, he’ll get his and be very tough to stop on a nightly basis. However, a healthier Dwyane Wade is the key to Miami’s title hopes. He can attack the basket and knock down jumpers and will need to do both to keep the Spurs’ guards on edge.

Gregg Popovich and his charges have been waiting for this rematch. Watching the 2013 Finals slip away after the Game 6 collapse has been an agonizing memory for the entire franchise. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili are all aware they are quickly running out of chances to add another Larry O’Brien Trophy to their case. Having solid bench options in Boris Diaw, Patty Mills, and Marco Belinelli make the Spurs a tough matchup for any team, even one as skilled as Miami. Diaw, in particular, has been fantastic as the playoffs have advanced; the veteran forward is averaging 14 points and 5.8 rebounds in his last five games.

San Antonio has looked unbeatable at home since getting blown out in Game 2 of the Western Quarterfinals. They have won their last three Game 1 meetings by an average of 15 points and are 7-0 ATS in their last seven home tilts. Miami is 2-3 in their last five on the road and are 2-5 ATS in their last seven trips to the Alamo City. Even though the Spurs are monsters at home, this seems like too many points.

Bet Miami +4.5