Where Miami Heat be without LeBron James? Answer: on the brink of disaster. The league’s Most Valuable Player had 40 points and 9 rebounds as the long-time favourites rallied to beat Indiana 101-93 on Sunday to level the Eastern Conference semi-final series at 2-2.
It was a performance for the ages, even though Dwyane Wade provided plenty of help. The Pacers, who led by 10 in the third quarter, will rue their defensive lapses, but will take heart from the knowledge that the Heat are still really a two-man team in the absence of Chris Bosh. This makes them acutely vulnerable.
In Game 5, Indiana are underdogs by 6.5 points, but a look back at the previous two games in Miami – when the Pacers lost by 9 and then won by 3 – gives them a shot at beating the handicap (at 1.91). But with the Heat gunning to sneak ahead, go over 180.5 total points at 1.91.
With the Olympic Games now two months away, a cluster of teams are starting their preparations at a qualifying tournament in Venezuela, where the last three spots in London are up for grabs.
There’s good value available on Europe’s contenders to reach the Olympics, especially on Russia at 2.50 and Lithuania at 3.20. And even though neither has cemented a spot yet, the neighbours are both currently an inviting 5.50 to win any colour of medal in London.
Bet of the Day: Take Indiana on the handicap at 1.91 over Miami