NBA Finals Betting: Game 3

NBA Finals Betting: Game 3

The 2014 NBA Finals haven’t been short on headlines through two games. LeBron James’ “crampgate” just won’t go away. His exit from Game 1 fueled San Antonio’s 36-17 fourth quarter that resulted in a 15-point victory. Then LeBron dropped 35 in Game 2 to even the series. Now the action shifts to South Beach where the Heat won three of four against the Spurs in the 2013 Finals. The Air Conditioning at American Airlines Arena should be in working order, so cramps won’t be an issue on Tuesday night. San Antonio took Game 3 a year ago in dominating fashion with a 113-77 thrashing, but that was in the friendly confines of the AT&T Center. Here’s a breakdown of tonight’s critical Game 3.

SAN ANTONIO AT MIAMI -4.5

The Spurs are getting excellent production from their Big Three of Parker, Duncan, and Ginobili thus far. Duncan has hauled down 25 rebounds, while Parker and Ginobili have combined for 30 assists. However, Kawhi Leonard, who was integral to San Antonio’s success in the 2013 Finals, has been missing in action. He averaged 11.1 rebounds in last year’s series, but has a pathetic 4 boards in two games, and his defense on James isn’t anything to write home about. Nobody can stop LeBron entirely, but Leonard needs to raise his game soon to give his team an advantage.

Chris Bosh continues to play his best basketball of the playoffs; his late three-pointer secured the Game 2 victory. Since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Bosh is averaging 21.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and shooting 50% from beyond the arc. With James and Dwyane Wade drawing so much of San Antonio’s attention, Bosh has been the biggest beneficiary. The ageless Rashard Lewis is also giving Miami solid minutes; he has scored in double-digits in his last four and has converted 14 three-pointers during those games. Needless to say, any production the Heat receive from guys not named James and Wade only increases their chances of winning a third straight title.

It’s easy to assume that if the AC didn’t malfunction in Game 1, the Heat would be up 2-0. Remove the fourth quarter of Game 1 and Miami has been the better team. That said, dismissing San Antonio’s ability to adjust and bounce back from tough losses is foolish. Gregg Popovich knows when and where to move his chess pieces. Finding a way to free up Parker, Leonard, and Danny Green for more open shots should be a priority for the remainder of the series. Parker’s ankle appears to be fine, but he looked dazed after taking a flagrant elbow from Mario Chalmers late in Game 2.

The favorite and home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. The Spurs have struggled away from home in the playoffs, going 3-5. Miami has won six of eight home games by double-digits. This still seems like too many points for teams that know each other so well. Heat win, Spurs cover.

Bet San Antonio +4.5