The NBA Finals

Kelso's Advanced Sports Betting: The NBA Finals

Handicappers studying this year's NBA Championship series between the Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs and the Eastern Conference Champion Miami Heat have quite a challenge ahead of them. The two teams have varying styles, varying points of emphasis, and a tendency to play inconsistently from one game (or even one quarter) to the next.

  • Miami went full zig-zag with the Indiana Pacers in the last round even though they were the superior team. They could only bring superior intensity when it was absolutely needed.

  • San Antonio had better game-by-game results...but that's only because their experience helped them in overtime spots vs. "new to the spotlight" Golden State and Memphis. They're not facing a team that's going to disappear in crunch time in this round!

Let's take a brief look at how the fundamentals of my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping see this series.

PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS
LeBron James is the biggest GAMEBREAKER of this generation. But, Tony Parker is obviously the best PLAYMAKER in this series. Both teams have threats. Both teams have role players in the starting lineup and on the bench who can come in and have an impact if they hit their shots.

To me, the biggest factor is something we discussed before Game Seven of Heat/Pacers. Are Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh still capable of being GAMEBREAKERS when needed? Wade really stepped up in Game Seven, while Bosh mostly fizzled outside of a couple well-timed shots that helped Miami pull away.

I'm not going to tell you my final conclusion in this regard, because what I've determined will play a big role in determining my day-by-day selections in this series. But, I can tell you that my final decision is based on the Wade/Bosh dynamic. I think you know what you're going to get from the main Spurs players, particularly since they had so much time to rest and prepare. This series will hinge on the contributions Wade and Bosh can or can't make.

THE MOTIVATION FACTOR
All playoff teams are motivated. But, some lose their fighting spirit once it's clear they're in trouble. You saw that with the Spurs last year vs. Oklahoma City. You saw that with Miami two years ago when they got so flustered against another team from Texas, the Dallas Mavericks.

This probably won't matter right out of the gate. But, I strongly believe that the straight up winners and pointspread covers in later games in this series will be determined by how each team reacts to adversity. As experienced as these teams are...either is capable of crumbling when it's clear they don't have a counter-move to what their opponent has just come up with. You saw the Heat get snippy with each other late in the Indiana series. I was stunned how quickly the OKC series got away from the Spurs last year.

Las Vegas oddsmakers have made the Miami Heat the betting favorites in the series. They'll be favored by between 5-7 points in their home games depending on how things play out...and the games in Texas will be near pick-em give or take a point or two. That's justified based on what we know going in. Picking winners on a game-by-game basis will depend very much on your reads of the Wade/Bosh dynamic, and the ability of either team to maintain their intensity in the best of times.

  • San Antonio had a disturbing tendency to blow big leads vs. Golden State and Memphis, and Miami is a lot better than either of those teams.

  • Miami went 0-3 straight up and ATS immediately after a straight up win in the last round vs. Indiana. They are 0-5 ATS in their last five games that came right after a straight up win.

Again, a very challenging series for handicappers! If you'd like some help, you can purchase my top plays on a game-by-game basis right here at the website with your major credit card.

Back next week to either read and react to early action in this series, or to post a special report on Major League Baseball. I may wait until late next week for the next NBA discussion so we have three games to digest (Thursday-Sunday-Tuesday is the schedule out of the gate).

Thanks again for all of your hard work here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting. The Dean of Sports Handicapping appreciates your attendance!

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