Miami?s Home Court

With Oddsmaker Nick Bogdanovich


A lot of attention was given to the amazing pointspread performances from the Dallas Mavericks in the first few rounds of the playoffs. They didn't suffer a non-cover until Game Two of the Western Finals vs. Oklahoma City. They carried a 12-2-1 ATS record into the championships.

What's been overlooked lately though is how strong Miami has been at home. The Heat's cover in Game One of the NBA Championships made it six straight home covers.

Miami (-5) beat Boston 99-90
Miami (-5) beat Boston 102-91
Miami (-7) beat Boston 97-87
Miami (-4) beat Chicago 96-85
Miami (-5) beat Chicago 101-93 (in overtime)
Miami (-4.5) beat Dallas 92-84

Now, obviously they were lucky to cover the overtime game. They easily could have lost that one outright. But, it's still five of the last six that comfortably moved past the number in regulation. If you're winning by 8-9-10-11-11 in regulation vs. good teams, why are you still laying just 4.5 or 5 points at home vs. good teams?!

A few factors are in play here in my view:

  • Miami isn't seen as having a big home court advantage because the crowds aren't as active in South Beach as they are at other sites. You saw a lot of noise in Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Chicago in the last round. Miami fans pick their spots. They'd also show up late if the games weren't already starting so late East Coast time.
  • Miami isn't winning blowouts. They play a "grinder" style of basketball that emphasizes defense and halfcourt basketball. Note that none of those covers involved victory margins of 15 of 20 points. Miami doesn't win routs vs. playoff caliber competition (at least not outside of one blowout win over Philly). They systematically grind opponents down.
  • Miami has been playing respected opponents that get Vegas support. Boston as an underdog seemed like a value bet to many sharps because of their championship experience. Chicago played great defense, had the league's MVP, and was a superior seed in the brackets. Tough to make a #2 seed a big favorite over a #1 seed. Dallas was on fire against the spread entering this series. Nobody was going to jump off that bandwagon until given a reason.

And, I have to admit that there's still some oddsmaker and sharp bias against LeBron James out here in Nevada. This is Kobe country because of our proximity to Los Angeles. And, before it was Kobe country, it was Jordan country because so many people in the industry and local media have roots in Chicago. James will get bet by the public. Oddsmakers and sharps don't mind taking positions against the public. Should James break through this year, and continue his pathway to being the next Jordan...then the Heat will likely be 8-9 point home favorites in games where they're now 4-5 point home favorites. Maybe in 2015 everyone will look back at 2011 in shock that the lines were so low in Miami.

Think about that as you handicap tonight's game. And, if the series returns to Miami for possible sixth or seventh games, that should be on your mind as well. The market has underpriced BOTH finalists for a few weeks now. Will it get this series right before it ends?

I have some pretty strong opinions about that myself. I will have something special for my clients tonight on either the side or the total (maybe both). You can always purchase my BEST BETS here at the website with your credit card. Reduced rates are still available for the championship round. If you have any questions, call my handicapping office at 1-877-822-2276. Be sure to ask about baseball when you call. One of my biggest plays so far this season will be going in the next few days on the diamonds. If you're personally afraid of a June swoon with your own picks, let me do the work while you march daily to the pay window to receive your winnings.

Sometimes it takes awhile for the numbers and the money to work themselves out. But, eventually, in all sports and all events, the best information will always come to you DIRECT FROM NEVADA!


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