Matchup: Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat
Date/Time: Wednesday, May 22, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
NBA Betting Odds: VietBet
Pointspread: Miami -7.5
Total Line: 182.5
Indiana returns to action this Wednesday night in Game 1 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals against a team that it beat two of three times in the regular season both straight-up and against the spread. It had the benefit of playing two of those games at home after coming-up short 105-91 as a 6.5-point road underdog the last time they met in mid-March. The Indiana Pacers have gone 8-4 SU in their first two playoff series against Atlanta and New York ending both in six games. They are also 8-4 ATS with the total staying UNDER in three of their last four games.
The key to Indiana winning Wednesday night’s opener will to maintain the physical presence in the paint that it has showed in the first two series. Both Paul George and Roy Hibbert have done a great job under the boards in the postseason with a combined 17.9 rebounds as part of the team’s overall average of 47.3 rebounds a game. The Pacers will have a tough time winning any kind of shootout after averaging 92 points a game while shooting just 42 percent from the field in their last 12 games.
The last time that the Miami Heat came off an extended layoff between series it was stunned by Chicago 93-86 in Game 1 of the conference semifinals as 12.5-point favorites at home. They closed-out the Bulls in five games with a 94-91 victory last Wednesday as 14-point home favorites. Miami is now 8-1 SU in its last nine games and 6-3 ATS. The total has stayed UNDER or ended as a PUSH in six of the nine games.
While rust could very easily be a factor for the Heat in this game, the greater concern is the health of Dwyane Wade’s knee. He played well in Game 5 after reinjuring it the game before and he has had an entire week of rest, but this is the kind of injury that will continue to linger throughout the postseason. LeBron James leads the team in the playoffs in points with 24 and assists with 7.3 while pulling down another 7.3 rebounds a game. Chris Bosh has quietly been a force with 13.2 points and 8.3 rebounds a game and Miami as a team is averaging 98.6 points while shooting an impressive 49.1 percent from the field.
Free NBA Pick
Look for Indiana to be banging the boards from the opening tip-off in an effort to throw Miami off its rhythm. While this aggressive style of play may not result in a SU win, the free pick is with the Pacers to play well enough to cover with the 7.5 points.
Miami 93 Indiana 89
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.