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Heat-Spurs Outlook

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Editor's note: Brian Edwards has posted a 126-92 record (58%, +26.1 units) in the NBA this season. Brian is #1 on VI with his pay-if-it-wins-only selections, producing 27.96 units of profit.

No. 1 Miami Heat vs. No. 2 San Antonio Spurs

Series Price: Miami -240, San Antonio +200

Series Format: Miami (2-3-2)

Game 1 - Thursday, June 6 (9:00 PM EST, ABC)
Game 2 - Sunday, June 9 (9:00 PM EST, ABC)
Game 3 - Tuesday, June 11 (9:00 PM EST, ABC)
Game 4 - Thursday, June 13 (9:00 PM EST, ABC)
Game 5* - Sunday, June 16 (9:00 PM EST, ABC)
Game 6* - Tuesday, June 18 (9:00 PM EST, ABC)
Game 7* - Thursday, June 20 (9:00 PM EST, ABC)

HEAD TO HEAD COMPARISONS
TEAM SU ATS HOME AWAY OVER/UNDER PPG DPPG
Miami Heat 78-20 55-43 44-6 34-14 49-46-3 101.9 93.8
San Antonio Spurs 70-26 49-45-2 41-7 29-19 43-51-2 102.8 95.9
2012-13 Head to Head Meetings
Date Results Total
03/31/13 Miami 88 (+9) at San Antonio 86 UNDER 194
11/29/12 San Antonio 100 @ Miami 105 (-13) OVER 202

Skinny: San Antonio advanced to the NBA Finals by sweeping Memphis in four games to win the West. The Spurs polished off the Grizzlies with a pair of wins at The Grind House, including a 93-86 win as 2.5-point road underdogs in the Game 4 clincher.

Tony Parker was sensational with 37 points and six assists on 15-of-21 shooting from the field. Tim Duncan added 15 points and eight rebounds.

Since the May 27 close-out victory, Gregg Popovich’s veteran-laded squad has had nine days to rest and prepare. The combination of Pop, Parker, Duncan and Manu Ginobili is gunning for a fifth career NBA title.

Miami is aiming for a second title with this nucleus and is making a third consecutive Finals appearance. The Heat got pushed to the brink of elimination by the Pacers in the East finals, but it rose to the occasion in Game 7 by capturing a 99-76 victory.

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LeBron James scored a game-high 32 points and finally got some help from his partners in crime. After scoring just 20 combined points in Games 5 and 6, Dwyane Wade scored 21 points and pulled down nine rebounds.

Chris Bosh grabbed a series-high eight rebounds, blocked three shots and was clearly more active and playing with more energy. However, he failed to score in double figures for the fourth consecutive game and was an abysmal 3-of-13 from the field.

In order to win back-to-back championships, Miami is going to have to get better play from Bosh. The Heat would also be well served if it can get Shane Battier going again.

Battier was outstanding in the Finals against Oklahoma City last season, but he has fallen out of favor with Erik Spoelstra in the past week. Battier played only four minutes in Game 6 and took the dreaded Did Not Play – Coach’s Decision in Game 7.

Kawhi Leonard is a going to be a key player for San Antonio. He is going to draw LeBron James for a defensive assignment and will need to chip in on the offensive end, too. Nobody can stop LeBron, but I think Leonard’s muscle, size and athleticism give him a chance to make things difficult on the league MVP.

With the way Bosh is struggling, Duncan’s play becomes even more important. The Spurs need him to punish Bosh in the paint like Roy Hibbert and David West did for the most part over the course of seven games.

With all that said, Parker is the Spurs’ catalyst. They go as he goes. Parker relentlessly attacks the basket off the dribble to score or kick to teammates for open looks from the perimeter. He will be the reason if San Antonio prevails.

Head-to-Head Matchups: There isn’t a lot to glean from the two head-to-head meetings between these teams during the regular season because so many key players didn’t play. In the first encounter, Popovich sent Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili back to San Antonio following a win at Orlando the previous night.

With the Spurs’ version of the Big Three back home and third-leading scorer Kawhi Leonard also out with an injury, Miami captured a 105-100 win. However, San Antonio took the cash as a six-point underdog. The 205 combined points slipped ‘over’ the 202-point total.

James produced 23 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and four steals. Ray Allen came off the bench to score 20 points, while Bosh added 18 points and 12 rebounds.

In the losing effort, Gary Neal scored a team-high 20 points, while Tiago Splitter added 18 points and nine rebounds. Matt Bonner had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.

When these clubs met in San Antonio, Miami won an 88-86 decision as a 1.5-point road underdog. The 174 combined points fell ‘under’ the 194-point total.

Bosh led the way with 23 points and nine rebounds while James and Wade sat out. Allen and Norris Cole finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Duncan and Leonard tied for team-high scoring honors with 17 points apiece. Duncan had 12 rebounds and Leonard grabbed 11. Parker struggled on a 4-of-14 shooting night and settled for only 12 points.

Ginobili sat out both head-to-head meetings.

Betting Notes: San Antonio has been producing for its backers in the postseason, cashing tickets at a 10-4 ATS clip. The Spurs have been underdogs three times, winning outright in each instance.

For the season, Popovich’s squad has compiled an 8-6 spread record in 14 ‘dog situations. As for totals, they’ve been a wash (7-7) for San Antonio with the ‘over’ going 3-1 in its last four games.

Miami is 9-7 ATS in the playoffs but has dropped five of its last eight contests versus the number. Totals have been an overall wash (7-7-2) although we should note the appearance of three straight ‘unders.’

The ‘under’ is currently on an incredible 21-5 run in the last 26 head-to-head meetings between the Spurs and Heat. The ‘under’ is 11-3 in the last 14 games at Miami.

For Game 1, most books are listing the Heat as a five-point home favorite with a total of 188.5. The Spurs are +200 on the money line (risk $100 to win $200). For first-half wagers, Miami is a three-point ‘chalk’ with a total of 93.

Sportsbook.ag has the Heat as the -205 favorite for the series. The Spurs are +175 on the comeback (risk $100 to win $175).

The offshore website has James as the -280 ‘chalk’ to win Finals MVP honors. The next-shortest odds belong to Parker (+240), Wade (+800) and Duncan (+800).

Series Outlook: LeBron James is going to be great in this series. To me, that’s a given. Which is why I think the biggest factor in this series is whether or not Wade and/or Bosh play at an elite level.

I’m going to guess that Wade will – at least at home. And the homecourt advantage will be critical because I think the series goes the distance. With Game 7 at Miami, I’ll call for the Heat to prevail and win a second straight championship.

  
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