It’s NBA Finals time. And although the Miami Heat are heavy favourites to defend their title, don’t look past the threat of the San Antonio Spurs.
The first game of the best-of-seven series is on Thursday night, with the beasts of the East at 1.42 to lift the championship and their Western Conference rivals at 2.90. The Heat are 1.40 to profit from home advantage and draw first blood, with the Spurs at 3.00, or at +5.5 on the handicap at 1.91.
But San Antonio will be no mere pushovers, as they showed in sweeping past Memphis to come out of the West. And this figures to be a much closer battle than anyone would have expected three months ago.
Here’s five reasons why the Spurs can win...
5. San Antonio have a better Big Three
The trio of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and … Kawhi Leonard (not Manu Ginobili) has been much more effective than LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, with the latter pair dropping off the charts far too often. Plus the Spurs go much deeper than Miami.
4. Anyone but LeBron
The Heat would have gone home long ago if not for the brilliance of James. He carried them past the Pacers who came so close to an upset. San Antonio have good size and can defend the perimeter. They’re going to punish Miami in a way Indiana failed to do despite a lack of athleticism and make LBJ’s supporting cast come out to play.
3. Ready and rested
The Spurs will have had ten days rest to allow everyone to heal, and to prepare for their opponents. That won’t completely negate their age factor but it helps hugely.
2. The TP Effect
Tony Parker is the best point guard in the NBA. He’ll likely average over 20 points and seven assists a game in this series and people around the world will finally understand how good he is.
1. Under-rated defence
In these play-offs, the Spurs have only given up more than 93 points on two occasions (both against Golden State). For all the talk of them being a huge offensive team, they can stop as well, which should keep Game 1 below the total points line of 189, available at 1.91.
Just to make things fair, here’s one reason why the Heat will win...
1. LeBron James
But if he doesn’t get more help, he might have to average over 30 points to lead Miami to back-to-back titles, a mark available at 1.85 tonight.
My prediction: Miami to win 4-3 at 3.8
Today's Best Bet: Go under 182 total points in Miami-San Antonio at 2.85
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