Insider’s Guide to Handicapping the NBA Finals
Insider’s Guide to Handicapping the 2012 NBA Finals
The Miami Heat outlasted Boston in seven games to win the Eastern Conference title and the Oklahoma City Thunder ousted San Antonio in six games to claim their first ever Western Conference title. These two preseason favorites will now meet in a best-of-seven showdown starting this Tuesday night for a chance to add a much coveted NBA World Title to their 2012 resume.
The following is brief look at each team’s performance so far in the postseason along with some current betting trends that should provide an inside tract to gaining an edge on handicapping the first two games of this series.
Miami Heat Team Overview
There were a few times that the betting public was ready to jump ship on this team, but in the end Miami prevailed with its second-straight Eastern Conference title. After making short work of the New York Knicks in five games in the opening round, the Heat found themselves in their first jam with a 2-1 deficit to the Indiana Pacers and Chris Bosh sidelined indefinitely with an abdominal strain. Miami’s other big two persevered to win three straight to oust the Pacers in six games.
The Boston series had the Heat on the verge of elimination after a demoralizing 94-90 loss in Game 5 as 7.5-point home favorites, but they quickly returned to championship form with Bosh back in the lineup by cruising to back-to-back victories in Game 6 and 7 by a combined 32 points.
LeBron James has led the way with an average of 30.8 points and 9.6 rebounds including a combined total of 76 points in his last two games. Dwyane Wade continues to struggle with consistency shooting the ball but is still averaging 22.9 points a game. Bosh has chipped-in an average of 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds in nine previous playoff games.
Miami is 12-6 straight-up and 11-7 against the spread this postseason. The total has gone ‘over’ in 10 of the 18 games overall and in eight of its last 10. The Heat is 2-4 ATS in their last six games.
Oklahoma City Thunder Team Overview
There could be a new big three in the NBA that is poised to make everyone forget about the trio in South Beach. Kevin Durant is the undisputed leader of the group with 27.8 points and 7.9 rebounds, but with Russell Westbrook averaging 21.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.6 assists to go along with James Harden’s 17.6 points and 5.2 rebounds, this three-headed monster has been able to steamroll its way through the Western Conference playoffs. Throw-in Serge Ibaka’s 10.7 points and 5.9 rebounds and you have the makings of a championship team.
The Thunder made short work of the defending champion Dallas Mavericks in the first round with a four-game sweep and held the Los Angeles Lakers to just one win in a five-game series victory in the conference semifinals. San Antonio opened-up a 2-0 lead in the conference finals but four straight wins later, Oklahoma City was on its way to the Finals.
Overall, The Thunder have won 12 of their 15 playoff games SU and are 10-4-1 ATS. The total has gone ‘over’ in 11 of the 15 games.
Betting Trends for Games 1 and 2
The Heat are 0-6-1 ATS in their last 13 playoff games as underdogs on the road and 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 playoff games as underdogs overall. The total has stayed ‘under’ in eight of their last 10 games as underdogs.
The Thunder are 5-1 ATS in their last six games following an ATS win and a perfect 5-0 in their last five playoff games as favorites. The total has gone ‘over’ in 10 of their last 12 games as favorites.
Head-to-head, the road team has won 11 of the last 14 meetings ATS and Miami is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games in Oklahoma City. The total has gone ‘over’ in seven of the last nine meetings here.
Bovada’s Series Odds: Miami +145 Oklahoma City -165
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