With the NBA Finals knotted at 2-2, San Antonio (72-28 straight up, 51-47-2 against the spread) will play host to Miami in Sunday’s Game 5 at AT&T Center.
Most books are listing Miami (80-32 SU, 57-45 ATS) as a 1.5-point favorite with a total of 188. The Spurs are +105 on the money line (risk $100 to won $105).
For first-half wagers, the Heat is favored by one-half point with a total of 93.5.
Miami pulled even by capturing a 109-93 win as a one-point ‘chalk’ in Thursday’s Game 4. Dwyane Wade exploded for a monster game with 32 points, six rebounds, six steals, four assists, one blocked shot and zero turnovers. Wade converted 14-of-25 shots from the field and made all four of his free-throw attempts.
LeBron James finished with a game-high 33 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals, two blocked shots and only one turnover. Chris Bosh added 20 points and 13 boards, matching his highest scoring output of the postseason (Game 3 at Chicago in the East semifinals). Bosh had failed to hit his regular-season scoring average (16.6 points per game) in eight consecutive games.
Ray Allen continued to provide solid production off the bench in Game 4 with 14 points. Allen is averaging 11.0 PPG in the series, scoring 13 points or more in three of the four games.
In the losing effort, Tim Duncan scored a team-best 20 points. Tony Parker didn’t appear to be bothered by his strained hamstring, scoring 15 points and dishing out nine assists.
Gary Neal and Danny Green remained hot from 3-point land, but they didn’t get enough looks. Neal drained 3-of-4 from deep and scored 13 points, while Green made 3-of-5 treys and finished with 10 points.
Game 4 was decided by turnovers. San Antonio committed 18 and the Heat had just nine. Miami beat the Spurs 41-36 on the boards.
We talked to VI's Chris David on how to handicap Game 5.
He said, "The Heat responded in Game 4 and improved to 6-0 both SU and ATS off a loss in this year’s playoffs. If you like to play that angle as you handicap Game 5, then you have to lean San Antonio. In this year’s postseason the Spurs are 3-0 off a loss, winning by 10, 18 and 36 points, the two larger margins coming at the AT&T Center."
"Also, as good as Miami looked on Thursday, it’s hard to ignore the fact that it hasn’t won back-to-back games in the playoffs since it took four straight from Chicago in the second round. If this trend holds true for both clubs, which is certainly possible, San Antonio will win the NBA Finals in Game 7 from South Florida. Grabbing the Spurs on the adjusted series-price (+240) certainly seems tempting."
The ‘over’ has now cashed in back-to-back games. Game 4 was the highest scoring game of the series with the 202 combined points soaring above the 186-point total. The outputs for Games 1-3 were as follows: 180, 187 and 190.
CD offer up his total opinions for us as well. "The betting public and a lot of handicappers were on the ‘under’ in Game 4, which was doomed when the pair put up a 55-point first and 59-point third. It also helps when you get a combined a 48 free throws, the most taken in this series. Surprisingly San Antonio (31) almost doubled-up Miami at the charity strip, yet they lost by double digits."
"Game 5’s number is hovering around 188 points and I expect it to be real close, especially the way Miami has been alternating wins and losses the last 10 games. In the setbacks, the Heat have averaged 85.4 PPG and they haven’t scored more than 93. I liked the Heat’s team total ‘over’ in Game 4 and I’m leaning ‘under’ 95 in Game 5. Make a note that the Spurs have allowed 92, 91 and 77 points off a loss in this year’s playoffs."
For bettors who are extremely bullish on the side and/or total, there are adjusted lines available that pay better odds. For instance, if you want to back the Heat -4, you can garner a +140 return (risk $100 to win $140). You can also back Miami at -6.5 (+190) and -8.5 (+250).
For the Spurs, gamblers can support them at -2.5 (+150), -4 (+185) and -5.5 (+230). As for the total, the ‘over’ can be played at 189.5 (+115), 191.5 (+140) and 194.5 (+175). The ‘under’ can be had at 185.5 (+115), 182.5 (+155) and 180.5 (+175).
Sportsbook.ag has updated the series price with Miami returning to the ‘chalk’ role at -260. The Spurs can be had for a +210 payout (risk $100 to win $210).
The offshore website has fresh odds for whom will take Finals MVP honors. James remains the favorite at -240. The next-shortest odds belong to Parker (+300), Wade (+600), Duncan (+800), Green (10/1) and Bosh (75/1). The number for the field is 25/1.
Wade’s odds were at 25/1 before he erupted in Game 2, forcing oddsmakers to radically reduce his payout.
ABC will have the telecast at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- How healthy is Tony Parker. On Saturday he said, "`If it was the regular season, I would be resting like 10 days."
-- If you toss out the last week when San Antonio rested players and closed the regular season with three consecutive losses, the Spurs have only lost back-to-back games three times this season. Five of those six setbacks were on the road too.
-- San Antonio has never lost back-to-back home games in the NBA Finals and the 16-point margin in Game 4 was the largest ever.
-- Chris David dug up some good looks on possible Game 5 props. He explained, "Including a 33-point effort in Game 4, LeBron James has now scored 30 or more points six times in this year’s playoffs. Prop bettors should take note that James has only averaged 25.8 PPG in the very next game. If you’re looking for a bigger drop-off in production, look at D-Wade. The All-Star just scored a playoff-high (32) in Game 4. Wade’s previous high this postseason was 21 (twice). Considering he hasn’t put up 20 or more points in back-to-back games since mid-March, his performance in Game 4 certainly appears to be an aberration.
-- Sportsbook.ag has LeBron's point total listed at 27.5 (-115) for Game 5.