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Pacers look for upset

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Eastern Conference Championship Preview

Indiana (+500) vs. Miami (-700)

With the Eastern Conference finals starting later this week, it's time to look at if Indiana has any chance to dethrone Miami and their chance to get back to the Finals. Miami is listed as heavy favorites in this series (-700) and it does look like they'll be able to get a shot at another ring. But the Pacers were 2-1 SU against Miami this year and will make this series tougher than most think:

Both those Indiana wins did come at home this season and they will need to steal a road game if they want to move on. They have size inside and a great post presence in Roy Hibbert and he should be able to have a few big games against a smaller Miami team. But sweeping Miami at home is no easy task despite the Pacers 31-11 SU home mark this year.

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So Indiana will likely have to find a way to win twice on the road to have a shot and I do believe they will find a way to get one of those necessary road wins in the first two games of the series. Miami has shown a tendency all year that they can get "disinterested" in games at home sometimes and they did so in Game 1 last round against the Bulls. Indiana proved they can smother 3-point shooters in the Knicks series and Miami's supporting cast (Battier, Allen etc.) are full of outside shooters that could go cold. The Pacers are a talented bunch and haven't forgotten about last year's playoff exit to this same team. They stole Game 2 78-75 last year in Miami and will find a way to do a similar thing in Game 1 or 2 this year.

However, that still doesn't warrant a play on the Pacers here because over a seven-game set Miami's talent will prevail. The Heat are such a good road team (29-12 during the season; 4-0 in playoffs) that a home loss won't faze them at all. If this series does head to Indiana 1-1 Miami will not panic. They won two of their four games last year in the Pacers building and have no problem doing the same thing 12 months later.

Miami will win this series but the -700 price is steep. This is Miami's chance to build upon their dynasty and with the best player in the world (LeBron) they won't be denied. Yet it won't be as quick or easy as everyone believes and I think this series goes at least six games. Indiana will find a way to win of their two home games early on so don't be surprised to see this series tied 2-2 heading into Game 5. That's where Miami's talent and experience will take over and I don't think they'll blow their chance to close it out on the road in Game 6.

Miami to win the series in 6 is listed at (+500) and in 7 at (+600) so if you don't want to stomach the -700 juice I think these are the best options for Miami. Indiana is too good of a team not to make this Miami's longest series of the 2013 playoffs and that means we should see at least six games.

  
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