NBA Finals – Game 6

Miami Heat vs LA Lakers, 10:30 am
Lakers 1-10 $2.80

The Lakers figure as the more talented side than this Heat squad, but Miami have shown they just won’t go away.

I think the best way to attack this angle is by taking the Lakers by 1-10 points here, currently paying out $2.80.

Miami needed an other-worldly performance from Jimmy Butler to win game 5, putting up a 35-point triple-double in 47 minutes of action.

With less than 48 hours rest in between games 5 and 6, you have to wonder whether fatigue will be an issue for him here.

Miami also shot 42% from 3 and 95% from the free-throw line in game 5, numbers I’m not sure are sustainable going forward.

We know what to expect from LeBron and AD at this point, so this game likely hinges on the Lakers role players playing better here.

Ultimately, I’m not sure we can expect the same level of performance from Jimmy and Duncan Robinson in game 5, while the Lakers performance level has generally remained constant.

With a healthy Adebayo and Dragic, I’d probably take Miami here, but I think we ultimately end the season with a narrow Lakers win.

NBA Finals – Game 5

LA Lakers vs Miami Heat 12:05 pm
Lakers Wire to Wire $2.40

This has been one of the most underwhelming NBA seasons in recent memory and I’m expecting it to come to a close here.

The injuries suffered by Miami in game 1 were devastating and realistically ended any chance we had of a competitive series.

I expect the Lakers to be in the lead after every quarter in this one, currently paying a generous $2.40.

This bet has cashed in 3 of the 4 games in this series and essentially hinges on the Lakers getting out to an early lead.

A lot went right for Miami in game 4, yet they couldn’t do enough to win and I can see this one easily getting away from them.

The Lakers have been very vocal in the media about the need to start quickly and they’ve definitely got the better of the two starting lineups.

While I think it may be a relatively close first half, the Lakers talent edge should see them ahead at both quarter time and half time.

They should then coast to a win in the second half, allowing us to win our $2.40 bet in the process.

NBA Finals – Game 4

Miami Heat vs LA Lakers, 12 pm
Lakers HT/FT $1.75

I’m going to take the same bet as last time here, backing the Lakers HT/FT at decent $1.75 odds.

It took a very unlikely set of circumstances for Miami to win last time out and I don’t see that repeating here.

If the Lakers are in top gear, this injury-riddled Heat team just can’t match them in this series.

LeBron and AD weren’t anywhere near as intense as they were in game 1 and 2 last time out, which had a knock-on affect on the whole team.

The Heat also required something extraordinary from Jimmy Butler, who knocked in a 40-point triple double.

Butler has not been a good outside shooter this season and I’d expect him to be guarded more by LeBron here, which should result in a lower offensive output.

Goran Dragic is doubtful to play here, while Bam Adebayo will be definitely limited if he even suits up.

The Lakers talked about how they need to come out much faster in game 4, which I’m expecting to manifest into a first-half lead.

Given that we’re getting $1.33 for an outright win, $1.75 for the half-time/full-time double looks like overs.

NBA Finals – Game 3

Miami Heat vs LA Lakers, 10:30 am
Lakers Half-Time/Full-Time

It’s tough to find a profitable angle in this series, so I’m going to keep it simple and go with Lakers half-time/full-time here at $1.60.

They’re currently on offer at $1.22 straight up, which gives them around a 75% implied win probability when you factor in the vig.

Given that price point, I think $1.60 is reasonable value for them to be leading at both half-time and full-time.

They’ve absolutely dominated the series so far and 2 of Miami’s 3 best players in Dragic and Adebayo are likely to be out again here.

Jimmy Butler also appears to be less than 100% and Erik Spoelstra went for a very different rotation in game 2.

While the vast majority of the fans are tuning out, I wouldn’t expect a letdown game from the Lakers here.

LeBron and AD are battling hard for that elusive Finals MVP award and I’d expect them to play at a high level here, which should rub off on their team-mates.

As long as the Lakers are up at half-time here, you can flip the channel to the NFL as they saunter to a 3rd straight win.

NBA Finals – Game 2

LA Lakers vs Miami Heat, 11 am
Robinson Over 12.5 Points

The Heat suffered several crucial injuries in game 1 and the series looks to be all but over from a competitive standpoint.

Fortunately, exotic markets still exist and that’s where we’ll look to profit from the rest of the way.

Especially with Goran Dragic out, I like the look of Duncan Robinson over 12.5 points here.

I’d expect him to play more minutes in this one and more shot opportunities in Dragic’s absence.

He has not shot particularly well of late, including a 0-point outing in game 1.

Given how well he shot the 3-ball this season, I’m predicting that to turn around here.

He only needs 4-5 field goals to get over 12.5 and I’m expecting him to have around 12 shooting opportunities.

I can see the Lakers allocating more defensive resources to guys like Butler and Herro, which could also result in more open looks.

With a bigger offensive role and some better shooting luck here, I’d back Robinson to have a much better game 2.

NBA Finals – Game 1

LA Lakers vs Miami Heat, 11:05 am
Heat+5

I’m all in on the Heat pulling off the upset in this series and that starts with taking them + 5 points in game 1.

They’ve been the best team in the NBA throughout the playoffs and will be a definite step up in quality for the Lakers to face.

They’re the deeper of these two sides and they match up relatively well with the Lakers star players.

I also think they’ve got the coaching edge in this series and would back Spoelstra to come out with the better game plan.

The Lakers are heavily reliant on the 3-ball and they’re trusting a lot of players that don’t make them efficiently.

Miami is a much better defensive team than the likes of Portland, Houston, and Denver and I think the Lakers will struggle to get the same quality looks.

If their small ball lineup can force the Lakers bigs off the floor, they’ve got a good shot at the upset here.

In what should be a close one down the stretch, I’ll take the 5 points of insurance with Miami.

NBA Finals Tips

Series Tips: LA Lakers vs Miami Heat
Heat $4

2020 has been a tough year, but I’m sure most of us would get a modicum of joy from watching LeBron James fail again in the NBA Finals.

I’m going out on a limb here and predicting that’s what will happen, taking the Heat as heavy $4 outsiders.

I don’t think they’ve got enough credit for what they’ve done this post-season, beating 3 top-4 seeds and going 12-3 in the process.

The Lakers have had one of the easiest runs to the Finals in recent memory, one which will definitely make conspiracy theorists wonder.

Miami are definitely the best side the Lakers have played so far, largely due to the options they can throw on LeBron and AD.

Jimmy Buckets, Iguodala, and Crowder can all competently guard LeBron, while I’d expect Bam Adebayo to compete with Anthony Davis.

Erik Spoelstra is also the better coach in this series and his unique understanding of LeBron’s game should prove invaluable.

The Heat also possess the better backcourt, with Dragic, Herro, and Robinson definitely having an edge over their Lakers counterparts.

Combine all of these edges and the Heat can definitely cause the Lakers problems. If they win the 3-point battle, I think they take this series.

For a little bit of extra value, I like the Heat to win 4-2 at juicy $11 odds.

Series Tips: LA Lakers vs Miami Heat
Herro Finals MVP $34

Now for the Finals MVP market, where I’m going for a bit of a roughie in Tyler Herro at $34.

Given the defensive roles Butler and Adebayo are likely to play, I’m not sure they’ll be able to put up huge offensive numbers this series.

Herro has been a revelation of late and clearly refined his game over the 4-month hiatus.

I think he is one of Miami’s 5 best players and would expect him to close games alongside Dragic in the backcourt.

He definitely has some matchup advantages, coming up against the likes of Rondo, Caruso, and KCP for the Lakers.

The Conference Finals showed he’s capable of getting hot offensively, particularly when he poured in 37 points in game 4.

I can see this being somewhat similar to the 2014 Finals, where a deep team with competent players has a young guy step up and take the MVP.

At current odds, I think Herro is the best value on the market.

Eastern Conference Finals – Game 6

Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics, 9:40 am
Heat +3.5

This should be a cracker of a game and I’m leaning towards Miami +3.5 points.

This is as many points as Boston have been favoured by this series and I’d expect Miami to be motivated after a loss.

They were actually leading for much of game 5, until a 3rd quarter collapse ultimately proved decisive.

I think this was in part due to shooting a horrific 19% from 3, a number which can only really improve.

They were also decimated on the boards, with Boston winning the rebounding battle 50-38.

Miami generally has the size advantage in this series, so this is a trend I’d expect to reverse going forward.

Ultimately, the key areas which cost Miami dearly in game 5 are much more likely to go in their favour here.

Most of these games have been very close down the stretch, which could very well be the case again here.

I think Miami has a fairly decent shot at winning outright here and the 3.5 points looks like it could be great insurance.

Western Conference Finals – Game 5

LA Lakers vs Denver Nuggets, 11:05 am
Lakers HT/FT $2.05

I’m expecting the Lakers to close it out in 5 here, predicting the Lakers/Lakers half-time/full-time double at $2.05.

The Lakers have definitely been the better side this series, but they haven’t really been getting margin, only covering once over the four games.

Denver are notoriously slow starters, as we’ve seen all playoffs, so I think it’s reasonable to expect the Lakers to build an early lead here.

With the NBA Finals set to begin on Thursday, the last thing the Lakers want here is a long series that puts them at a rest disadvantage.

I think they figured a few things out in game 4, especially with LeBron guarding Murray down the stretch.

You expect both LeBron and AD to cook, but quality support play from guys like Rondo and Dwight makes this a difficult team to defend.

The Lakers haven’t even shot particularly well in the last few games and a better offensive performance could make this a blowout.

Davis’ ankle injury is a bit of a concern, but I think that makes the Lakers even more motivated to get the win here and rest up before the Finals.

Eastern Conference – Game 5

Boston Celtics vs Miami Heat, 10:30 am
1st Half Under 109

I’m going to have a go at a bit of a different market today, this time making a play on the first half total.

The full game line is 213 points and I see some value in under 109 for the first half.

While some games tend to be higher scoring in the first half, I think we’re more likely to see a higher scoring second half here.

This was definitely the case during a close one in game 4 and I could see both sides trading free throws down the stretch.

By this logic, even if the 213 point number is bang on, this first half total is probably around 5 points too high.

Both of these teams are defense oriented and are heavily reliant on the outside shot to put up points.

Given this is a win or go home game for Boston, I’d expect more defensive effort early and potential nerves that make it more difficult to hit 3’s.

The key players on both sides racked up a ton of minutes in game 4 and it’s likely we see a slower paced game here.

Combine a few points of line value, an expected slower pace, and likely better defensive effort and this first half under looks like a solid play.