Pacers v Heat
Is the Miami Heat’s tag of favourites for the NBA title about to lose its shine? We might find out on Thursday night when the suddenly-vulnerable Heat travel to Indiana looking to re-discover the mojo that seemed entirely lost in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semi-final series with the Pacers.
The inquest following Tuesday’s 78-75 loss has been on Miami’s lack of depth, underlined by the failure of anyone not named LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to score any more than five points. The real talking point should be how the Pacers have ruthlessly exploited the absence of Chris Bosh with a small, tenacious line-up that looks capable of inflicting even more damage when the match-up shifts to Indianapolis.
Miami has made just 1 of its 22 three-point attempts in the opening two games and with Indiana’s grinding line-up unlikely to relent, the Heat – favoured by just 1 point on the handicap - will likely have to scrap for their lives. It’s worth a punt under the points line of 181.5 at 1.91 and back the Pacers at 2.06 to turn up the heat on their rivals.
Clippers v Spurs
There’s no more efficient team in the NBA right now than San Antonio, who can go 2-0 up in the Western semis with another victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. The Spurs dominated Game 1, winning 108-92, and crucially holding Chris Paul to just six points.
San Antonio had 13 three-pointers and Tim Duncan collected 26 points and 10 rebounds in a vintage showing. That spells trouble for the Clippers, unless they can slow their opponents down but that is much easier said than done.
They’re underdogs by 10.5 points at 1.91 and it’s tempting to take LA to come a little closer this time. But stay over the total points forecast of 194.0. If the Clippers have any shot, as they did in their lone regular season win over the Spurs, it will come by scoring big themselves.
Bet of the Day: Go over 194.0 total points in San Antonio – Clippers at 1.91