NBA Finals Game Three Preview
SPURS UP A BREAK, BUT MIAMI IN TITLE FORM HEADING TO GAME THREE IN SAN ANTONIO
Both the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat have something to hang their hats on as the NBA Championships head to Texas for Games Three, Four, and Five this week. The Spurs broke serve in the first game, and all they really wanted was a split in Florida. Miami reminded everyone Sunday Night that nobody can touch them when they're playing in peak form...which is something they plan to do three more times on their way to a second consecutive league title.
Who's in better shape?
Even though the Spurs just have to win their home games to earn the trophy, it's generally accepted that Miami is in better position at the moment:
It's very hard to win three straight games in the league finals, particularly at lines near pick-em. The Spurs probably won't sweep their home games...which means Miami breaks back to earn home court advantage...which would allow them to take Games Six and Seven at home regardless of what else happens in Texas.
Miami followed this same pattern last year in the Finals vs. Oklahoma City...a slow start followed by sustained dominance. Since we've seen this movie before...and the lead character may be even better this year (!), you have to assume Miami' still in the driver's seat.
Speaking of Oklahoma City...the reason they were the Western champions last year is because they started slow vs. San Antonio before dominating them once they got their matchups figured out. That's another strike against the Spurs in terms of championship-level basketball. They're better prepared than their opponents entering a series. But, maybe they can't disguise their weaknesses for a full best-of-seven series. Coach Pop's sleight of hand can only do so much.
Let's look at some numbers for Tuesday's third game...
MIAMI at SAN ANTONIO
Vegas Line: San Antonio by 2, total of 188
Series Tied 1-1
Vegas has made a healthy adjustment for the change in sites. The Heat were -5 and -6.5 in their home games, suggesting that home court advantage is worth about 3.5 to 4 points in the opinion of the market (leading to 7-8 point moves from site to site). Is that right? Miami was very strong on the road this year...but did lose twice at Indiana.
The total has dropped a little because the first two games have gone Under even with good shooting.
Average Result: Miami by 7.5
Average Total: 183.5
The tempo has been extremely so in the first two games, with both teams mostly content to run their halfcourt plays unless a rare breakout opportunity presents itself. The teams were a combined 20 of 39 on treys in Game Two, and it still stayed Under at 187! The first game saw very few turnovers and good shooting from both teams inside the arc...yet could only get to 180.
JIM HURLEY is working very closely with his full TEAM of experts to make sure his clients get the right plays in Tuesday's tilt
- SCOUTS and SOURCES are reporting in on player health, and on the adjustments San Antonio is most likely to make off their Game Two loss.
- STATHEADS are crunching all the numbers, particularly from Game Three action over the past 15-20 years in the NBA finals. This 2-3-2 format only happens in the finals remember, which means you have to really pinpoint the right stat expectations.
- TREND HISTORIANS are looking back even longer than 15-20 years to understand the percentages when a series opens with a 1-1 split.
- COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS are running simulations around the clock based on the scouting information...the stathead notes...and what the trend historians have found.
- WISE GUY CONNECTIONS in Las Vegas and offshore are letting us know what the smart money is doing on both the side and the total to make sure we're in synch with the smartest bettors.
It will all come together for at least one blockbuster release (and maybe two) that you can purchase right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about the NBA Finals or Major League Baseball, call us in the office during regular business hours at 1-800-323-4453.
We'll be back with you Wednesday to preview the Cleveland/Texas game in Major League Baseball that will be nationally televised by ESPN. Then, Thursday, we return to hoops for Game Four from San Antonio. The NBA Championships will be the lead story all week. WHEN CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE ON THE LINE, you need WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!
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