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Magic favored for Game 5

The Los Angeles Lakers are on their way to capturing their 15th NBA title, but bettors at know Sunday’s Game 5 is anyone’s ballgame.

Orlando is a 2.5 point favorite despite being down 3-1 in the series and facing astronomical odds of a comeback. Tip-off is earlier than usual at 8 pm ET on ABC and you can get Half-Priced Juice if you place your wager on Friday.

Orlando is still bitter after losing Game 4 with a five point lead and the ball with one minute left. Dwight Howard missed two free throws with 11 seconds left and Derek Fisher hit a game tying three-pointer after Orlando decided not to foul. L.A then won in overtime 99-91.

Orlando is a Game 5 favorite for a reason

Our research staff did a quick look back at the last two NBA Final Game 5’s in which the home team was down 3-1.

The first was easy to pull up as it was just last year. Boston had stunned Los Angeles in Game 4 with their miraculous 24-point comeback win. The Lakers had to be demoralized being down 3-1 but they were able to stave off elimination for one game, winning 103-98.

The downside for Lakers’ backers in that game was they were 7.5 point favorites. So Los Angeles failed to cover the spread as in all games in the NBA Finals, ultimately won by Boston in a Game 6 home blowout.

This scenario also occurred in 2000. Los Angeles had just come off a thrilling 120-118 overtime win at the Indiana Pacers. That put them up 3-1 with Game 5 in Indiana.

Indiana had a dominating 120-87 Game 5 performance against an unmotivated Lakers team led by Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

The Pacers were 1.5 point favorites in that game, similar to the spread for this Game 5. They ended up losing Game 6 in L.A for the first of three consecutive Lakers titles.

The big questions for Sunday’s game is how hungry will L.A. be knowing they return home for two more games? Also, can the home crowd motivate this dejected Orlando team?

Recent history tells us not to discount the home team.

This could be the last NBA game of the season, so don’t miss a second of the action at!

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