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Game 4 - Spurs at Heat

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In the last 10 NBA Finals games between the Spurs and Heat, the two teams won five times each. After Miami captured the championship last summer in seven games, San Antonio is halfway to the franchise’s fifth title after putting on a historic shooting display in the first half of Tuesday’s Game 3 rout of Miami.

The Spurs knocked down 19 of their first 21 shots, while shooting a scorching 75% from the floor in the first half of a 111-92 rout of Miami to cash outright as four-point underdogs. San Antonio put up 71 points in the first 24 minutes, while building a 25-point lead (55-30) in the second quarter. The Heat came all the way back to trim the deficit to seven points in the third (81-74), but Marco Belinelli’s three-pointer stopped a 10-0 Miami run to end any chance of a Heat victory.

San Antonio handed Miami its first home loss of the postseason and snapped the Heat’s 11-game playoff winning streak at the American Airlines Arena dating back to last summer’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The keys for the Spurs in Game 3 were Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, who combined to shoot 17-of-21 from the floor for 44 points, including a career playoff-high 29 points for Leonard. San Antonio finished with 59% shooting from field and still won by 19 points in spite of Miami connecting on 51% of its shots.

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LeBron James
and Dwyane Wade each scored 22 points for the Heat in Game 3, while Chris Bosh attempted only four shots after scoring 18 points in each of the first two contests in this series. Miami has done a terrific job of bouncing back off a loss in the playoffs since 2012, posting a 13-0 SU and 12-1 ATS record in this situation the last 13 tries. In this postseason, the Heat has won and covered all four times off a loss, including in Game 2 at San Antonio.

VegasInsider.com’s Chris David breaks down this profitable trend, “If you’ve been betting the NBA playoffs the past couple years, then you’re well aware of Miami’s production off a loss. It’s an amazing feat and something that shouldn’t be overlooked. What’s also impressive about this Heat group is that they never trailed 3-1 in a series since they formed their elite alliance in 2010. While these angles are very strong, I believe the public is buying into it too much and it’s evident based on the line in Game 4.”

The oddsmakers are testing this theory that Miami will rebound on Thursday, as David believes this number is a tad rich, “I’m scratching my head on this line and didn’t expect Miami to open as a 5-point favorite. This point-spread is comparable to last year’s Finals when the Heat were favored by 5, 6, 6 ½ and 5 ½ points. The Game 1 in this series was Miami +4 ½, which was a fair line considering San Antonio has improved and Miami isn’t as good. The betting public is already expecting Miami to rebound and the number has been bet up to 5 ½ points at most shops. I’m not sure what series everybody is watching but last time I checked San Antonio has won by double digits in both its victories while the Heat earned a two-point decision. Even if you expect the Heat to win Game 5, I’d be hesitant to lay that many points.”

The series price has swung back and forth after each of the first three games, as San Antonio is listed as a -225 favorite to win the title (Bet $225 to win $100). The Heat are actually in a potentially profitable spot in spite of the Game 3 loss, listed as a +185 underdog (Bet $100 to win $185) to win three of the next four games.

At the beginning of the series, James was the favorite to win the MVP, but San Antonio’s Tim Duncan is currently a 6/5 (+120) favorite to capture the series MVP, according to Sportsbook.ag. James has slipped to 8/5 odds (+160) to win his third Finals MVP, while Tony Parker has jumped to 7/2 odds (+350) to capture his second career Finals MVP. Following Leonard’s impressive Game 3 effort, the Spurs’ swingman is up to 9/1 (+900) to win the award.

From the totals standpoint, which saw the ‘over’ hit in Game 3, David says that this has not been a cakewalk when betting totals in this series, “Including Game 3, betting the totals in this series have been sweatshops. Even though the ‘over’ cashed on Tuesday, it did get dicey at the end. And the same thing can be said for bettors who had the ‘under’ in Game 3. The pace hasn’t been fast by any means but you do have two teams that can make shots from 3-point land and Tuesday’s outcome was certainly helped with 44 combined points from the free throw line. I do believe one thing that will play a factor on Thursday is fatigue with both teams playing their third game in five nights. Even knowing that, it’s hard to go against Miami’s run (13-4-1) to the ‘over’ in this year’s playoffs.”

The Heat are currently 5 ½-point favorites at most books, while the total is set at 197. Game 4 tips off at 9:00 PM EST on Thursday and can be seen on ABC.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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