NBA Playoff Betting: Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat

NBA Playoff Betting:  Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat

The Miami Heat finally woke up late in Game 2 to salvage a split on the Indiana Pacers’ home court. To be more specific, LeBron James took over late in Game 2 and carried his team on his back. That’s what superstars do, of course, but the fact that he needs to do it at this stage of the playoffs is a concern. Now the series shifts to Miami for the next two games and it’s hard to get a read on either team.

The Indiana Pacers have been one of the biggest enigmas in the NBA all season long. They looked formidable during the first half of the season but regressed somewhat (especially against the pointspread) during the second half. They haven’t exactly impressed during the playoffs either–they had more trouble than they should have against the #8 seeded Atlanta Hawks before finally eliminating them in 7 games. During that series management made public that head coach Frank Vogel was ‘coaching for his job’ during this playoff run. That didn’t seem to produce an immediate turnaround in form though the Pacers did look very good at several points during the Conference Semifinals against a talented young Washington Wizards team. On the other hand, they were badly outplayed at other points in those games. The finally eliminated the Wizards in six games but this looked to be more a case of Washington being ‘a year or two away’ from becoming a championship contender than anything the Pacers did right.

The Miami Heat’s MO is well known. Working on their third straight NBA title they’ve become notorious for playing on ‘cruise control’ during the regular season. They finished second to Indiana in the Eastern Conference and haven’t encountered much resistance during the playoffs sweeping Charlotte in 4 games and dispatching Brooklyn in 5 games. As has been the case during their past playoff runs the expectation is that the Heat will ‘turn it on’ as the stakes get higher but so far this hasn’t happened.

Indiana’s Paul George is listed as ‘probable’ after being diagnosed with a concussion. He rejoined practice without contact on Thursday and every expectation is that he’ll play. The Pacers and Heat split four meetings during the regular season both straight up and against the spread. Miami won by 12 for an easy cover in the final meeting of the year but the pointspread outcome in the first three games was decided by a combined 4.5 points. Still not sold on these Pacers and the Heat could ‘turn it on’ at any time but from a betting standpoint we’ll rely on the statistical data which has us on Indiana. Most likely outcome is a tight game that results in a Heat win and a Pacers cover.