The Indiana Pacers truly believe they can knock off the Miami Heat in the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals. That will make things very interesting when they host Game 3 on Sunday night.
If there were any suspicions that the champions would stroll back to another Finals, then those were surely erased in the Pacers' 97-93 victory on Friday that levelled matters at 1-1. As Paul George pointed out: “Take nothing away from their Big Three... But we'll take a big five any day. That's what we have." Indiana’s strength in numbers caused all sorts of problems, with all five starters scoring in double figures.
Miami’s problem has been a lack of reliability. Shane Battier and Ray Allen have been non-factors. Dwyane Wade is struggling. Even though his numbers have gone up when Lance Stephenson is on the floor, the load has been carried largely by LeBron James and Chris Bosh over these opening two games.
Despite that, the Heat are 1.85 to grab a 2-1 series lead with their rivals at 1.98. And Miami are still at 1.28 to win this series with the Pacers at 3.50. The title holders still have the sport’s best player and they are, lest we forget, 46-4 over their last 50 games.
But we’re in Indiana now, where the hosts are 36-11 this season and 5-0 in these play-offs. That’s why, if you believe in miracles, there’s great value on the Pacers on the handicap outsider line of -5, available at 3.30.
Best bet: Go over 183 total points in Indiana-Miami at 1.91