Miami Heat 1.34– Indiana Pacers 3.30 (series tied 1-1)
The most significant play of the Eastern Conference Finals might have come from the Indiana Pacers’ team doctor. Paul George has been cleared to feature in Saturday’s Game 3 despite sustaining a suspected concussion in Tuesday’s loss to the Miami Heat that allowed the reigning NBA champions to level the series at 1-1.
With his head spinning, the All Star had just 14 points in that 87-83 reverse, and it illustrated the Pacers’ lack of depth again with their starting line-up out-scoring Miami by 23 points but any other combination dropping by 16. The production from mid-season acquisition Evan Turner has been minimal and even Luis Scola looks a shadow of his former self.
But it’s George’s defence which is of greatest need, in particular in the match-up with Dwyane Wade. The Heat guard had scored 50 in the opening two games of the series and limiting his contribution has to be one of Indiana’s focuses going forward.
The Pacers – available on the handicap of -2.5 at a massive 4.10 - won’t fear going on the road either where they’ve won five straight in these playoffs following a Round 1 opening loss to Atlanta.
But Miami, still 1.95 favourites for the title, have spoken a lot about limiting opportunities with LeBron James leading by example, a strategy which – combined with Indiana’s meek attack – could keep the total points line below 180 points.
The Heat are at 2.70 to eventually win this series 4-2 with Indiana 13.00 to achieve the same result. Given how tight the margins have been so far, the best value looks to be Miami to survive 4-3 at 5.50.
Best bet: Go under 178.5 points in Miami-Indiana at 2.43