Miami Heat 1.35 – Indiana Pacers 3.25 (Heat lead 2-1)
It’s no over-hyping to claim that Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals is utterly pivotal, especially for the Indiana Pacers. In a series where, overall, they’ve probably been the better team, falling into a 3-1 hole against the Miami Heat would probably spell the end of their hopes.
The reigning champions are now just 2.25 to advance with two further consecutive victories but it’s all been about how well they’ve finished rather than started.
To this point, they’ve notched an average of 19 points in first quarters and 26 in the fourth, one reason why taking Indiana to win the opening period at 2.60 is worth a look.
But the Pacers really should look at missed opportunities. They’ve held Chris Bosh to just nine points in every game and their starting line-up has out-performed the Heat.
Indiana’s bigs, Roy Hibbert and David West, are killing Bosh and Udonis Haslem. So where are they missed out? Answer: in finding any way to limit the impact of LeBron James.
The All Star, who’s now 2.35 favourite to be Finals MVP, is scoring at a clip of just 24.3 points in the series but has been a defensive juggernaut, often switching onto whichever Pacer has the hot hand.
He’s been a big reason why Paul George has only totalled 31 points in Games 2 and 3, both Miami wins. And more of the same would mean a total points line of 183.5, available at 1.90, is about par in what could be a dogfight as Indiana try to cling on.
Best bet: Back Indiana on a handicap of +4.5 at 2.25 against the Heat.