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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Three of the four games so far in the Eastern Conference Finals have gone right down to the wire. The series opener went overtime. Game Two was nip and tuck before the Pacers sprung an upset. Game Four was nip and tuck until Indiana pulled away in the final moments thanks to second chance points from offensive rebounds.

The only final that wasn’t close was Game Three…which Miami won 114-96 on the ROAD thanks to an astounding offensive performance (57% shooting inside the arc, combined with only 5 turnovers).

We’re on serve through four games. But, that may not mean anything given that both teams have proven they can win in the other city…and that neither team has really shown that home court even matters! Miami gets less of a boost out of their home crowd than any other city…while simultaneously being the best road team in the NBA. Indiana won’t back down physically from the Heat unless the refs foul all of their players out. This war is likely to continue in the same fashion fans and bettors have been enjoying to this point…

 

GAME FIVE

INDIANA AT MIAMI

Vegas Line: Miami by 7.5, total of 185

Series Tied 2-2

For some reason, the legal betting markets keep giving Miami full credit for home court in this series. They opened at -8 here, with sharps betting the number down to -7.5 based on Indiana’s solid results on this court in the first two games. Very tough to make the case that Miami has earned the high price. Home court advantage for the whole league has been between 2-3 points so far in the postseason. Miami has less of a home court edge than most. Look at the picture these numbers are painting…

 

Average Result: Miami by 1.8 in regulation

Average Total: 193.8 in regulation

That’s a “neutralized” assessment since there have been two games at each site. Miami looks to be about a bucket better. If you say home court is worth 2-3 points…that pushes a projected line to Heat by 4-5.

Clearly, oddsmakers think Miami is likely to bring that extra gear that we saw in Game Three. Handicappers must determine if that’s a reasonable assessment…or if Indiana made adjustments in Game Four that will prevent the Heat from going off another time in this series.

The market total is still way below the scoring reality of the series. We’ve had nothing but Overs so far against Vegas totals of 181, 182, 182, and 185. So, it’s moved in the right direction…but is still undershooting the mark because of free throw attempts and the effectiveness of both teams scoring inside. If players back off because of foul trouble, it’s easier to get the ball in the basket. Plus, Indiana’s done such a good job of hitting the offensive glass that they can be efficient with offensive possessions at a lower shooting rate.

*Is this the night Miami re-establishes its super-team credentials?

*Is this the night Indiana makes its case as the new force in the East?

*Is this the night the refs finally swallow their whistles, creating a low scoring grind?

Tough questions for handicappers…but manageable questions for the exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach at JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK! Thanks to our scouts, our sources, our statheads, our computer programmers, our friends “in the know” offshore and in Las Vegas, JIM HURLEY is able to find you the best Vegas betting option in each NBA game.

You can purchase those plays (along with daily baseball) right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about baseball or basketball, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.

Back Friday to talk baseball. There are several marquee series on tap this weekend with the close of the Interleague Rivalry Extravaganza. We’ll probably be previewing either Cincinnati/Pittsburgh, Washington/Atlanta, San Francisco/St. Louis, Detroit/Baltimore, or Boston/New York Yankees. What a weekend!  Keep piling up the cash in baseball and basketball as we count down to the Belmont Stakes in horse racing with master of all sports…JIM HURLEY!

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