Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 2:00 PM
The Eastern Conference Finals matching the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat has been a fascinating series from many perspectives. You have great athletes on the floor. You have master chess players making adjustments on the sidelines. You have a team that was supposed to be a dynasty in the East, finding out that a young upstart has some other ideas about that.
Some handicappers have found the series challenging…because you never know for sure what adjustment each coach is going to make…and you never know for sure how the opponent will adjust. Others have found it easy…because a classic simple strategy like “bet the loser of the last game” has won every time. Guys who barely know basketball are winning…while guys who spend hours studying stats and videotape are mixing some good calls with some bad hunches.
As you consider Monday’s Game Seven, let’s get back to the basics of my Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping approach. We’re not going to worry about THE MOTIVATION FACTOR. Both teams are going to be as motivated as possible. Each team has a potential negative intangible that could come into play:
*Miami’s chemistry has been lacking in recent action, and in-fighting could develop quickly.
*Indiana’s inexperienced at this level of spotlight intensity, which could lead to a collapse under pressure.
Let’s assume both teams bring out the best in each other. That leaves us with PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS, the most basic fundamental of what The Dean of Sports Handicappers has been teaching you ever since our coursework began on these pages.
I believe the biggest question facing analysts right now is this:
Are Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh still PLAYMAKERS?!
Wade comes and goes in this series, and his poor attitude has been disturbing. Bosh looks completely out of his element because he’s not a physical player to begin with…and he’s playing on a sprained ankle. Miami was dominant this year because LeBron James is a force of nature AND his teammates would make their jumpers when he passed out of a double team. Wade could take over when James was resting or having an off night. It’s asking too much of James to win as a one-man team.
When the series began…you had “the big three” of Miami plus Ray Allen positioned to hit three-pointers, and a few other guys who were likely to contribute within the confines of their roles. Right now, that’s far from a sure thing.
On Indiana’s side:
*Paul George has been dynamic
*Roy Hibbert has been a DEFENSIVE playmaker who can also score off offensive rebounds
*David West and George Hill are contributing more than the “second line” of threats for Miami as a general rule.
From the stat breakdowns…I would insist you factor in these realities:
*LeBron James is the single biggest force in the series
*Indiana’s rebounding is the second biggest force in the series, allowing them to score on second-chance points time and time again. Indiana has a rebounding advantage of +45 in the three games they won.
*Indiana’s relative youth is the third biggest force in the series, as they continue to bring energy while Miami has stretches where they look very tired (particularly Wade). This series has gone every other day the whole way through, preventing Miami’s older players from getting any sustained recovery period.
*Indiana’s big problems with turnovers are also a critical dynamic. Youth can keep you in a game…but youth can take you out of a game if everyone makes mistakes.
I can’t tell you here in these pages who I’m personally betting and releasing. That information is for my paying clients. I can tell you the reasons for my pick though.
*If I’m on Miami, it’s because I believe that Wade, Bosh, and the rest of the role players will use their experience and “recognition of the moment” to score when needed, keep forcing turnovers, and at least battle Indiana even on the boards. Miami did that in Game Five on their home floor and won by 11 in a pointspread cover.
*If I’m on Indiana it’s because I believe that the infighting and backbiting with the Heat will keep them from doing what it takes to overcome Indiana’s size, energy, and rebounding ability to a degree that would create a one-sided win.
*If I’m on the Over, it’s because I believe that shotmakers will start hitting their jumpers, while referees call a tight game early to keep things under control.
*If I’m on the Under, it’s because I believe the referees will swallow their whistles, leading to a game likely to land in the 170’s or even lower because of low free throw counts.
If you’re having trouble making a final decision, you can purchase my releases right here at this website with your major credit card.
I’ll be back again later this week to preview the NBA Championships matching Monday Night’s winner and the San Antonio Spurs. We’ll talk more about baseball soon. Right now the NBA is taking center stage in the minds of many Las Vegas handicappers. Thanks again for your attendance in my Advanced College of Sports Betting and Handicapping, and for all of your hard work. It has been noticed and appreciated.