Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 7:00 AM
What you saw Saturday Night in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals was an exhibition of basketball from the Miami Heat that few teams in history would be capable of accomplishing. In context, it was one of the most dominating “pure basketball” offensive performances in playoff history.
Miami scored at will against a great defense in a slow game. A total of 114 points doesn’t seem like much given the ability of run-and-gun teams to get there…or for teams nailing a bunch of treys on a hot night to rack up points.
*Miami only scored 6 fast break points
*Miami only made 6 three pointers
That means Miami scored 90 points inside the arc out of normal half court sets (plus free throws gained from attacking the basket) against a great defense. Time warp that performance to an era of 100-plus possession games…against defenses that had one big stopper but not a team of them…and the sky’s the limit. The plodding style of current playoff basketball is hiding the historic greatness of this Heat team.
The question for handicappers now is whether or not that was a rare “peak” outing that won’t be matched again…or whether it was something that Miami’s capable of doing whenever they need it. It’s one thing to say that a team making 14 treys on one night is bound to cool off. If a team keeps cashing in turnovers for dunks…those dunks will disappear if the opponent stops making turnovers. But…when an offense just keeps attacking and scoring…against a great defense…who’s going to get in their way?
From what we’ve seen, Miami is the only team to get in Miami’s way. They don’t always have peak intensity. They sometimes relax on defense when there’s no sense of urgency. Dwyane Wade will have the occasional shooting slump as he fights through his latest injury. Handicapping this series moving forward will largely involve estimating Miami’s mindset entering a game. If it’s time to send a message…bet on the message senders and the Over! If a message has just been sent, maybe it’s Indiana that offers value (as they did in the first two games of this series).
MIAMI at INDIANA
Vegas Line: Miami by 2, total of 185
Miami Leads 2-0
The line on the team side has not moved as of press time. That tells you oddsmakers and sharps don’t believe Miami can play like that twice in a row (even though the Heat have now won all five road games they’ve played in the postseason by double digits). There’s also some “zig zag” bettors out there investing in the team that just lost the prior game, plus residual respect for Indiana’s home court strength.
The total has jumped a few points for a reason you’re about to see…
Average result: Miami by 4.7 in regulation
Average total: 194.7 in regulation
The market has undershot this series in regulation in every game, even though it’s been slow…and even though we haven’t seen a lot of three-pointers.
*A physical series is resulting in a lot of whistles
*If teams back off because of the refs, scoring becomes easier
*Miami has guys who make their free throws when fouled
Check out the relationship between made free throws and game scoring.
Game One: 40 made free throws, 184 points in regulation
Game Two: 44 made free throws, 190 points
Game Three: 54 made free throws, 210 points
If the refs ever swallow their whistles, then we’re looking at an Under. If this series is so physical that fouls MUST be called (which has clearly been the case so far), then oddsmakers still may not have the number high enough. The market is still about 10 points below the regulation average for this series.
JIM HURLEY has been working with his team of experts to get the right side and total read for Tuesday Night. You can purchase the final word right here at the website with your credit card. Be sure you check out the great Interleague Rivalry schedule as well…for additional plays you can use in parlays. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.
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