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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Last year’s NBA Championship battle between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat was a thriller that went the full seven games. Miami never enjoyed an advantage in the series until winning that finale. San Antonio seemingly had it all wrapped up late in Game Six before blowing a 5-point lead in half a minute.

The two teams have survived their conference gauntlets again, as they were favored to. Fans and Las Vegas sports bettors will once again be treated to a clash of the two best teams in pro basketball. Let’s run the teams through our stat gauntlet to see how things might play out. Remember that all stats in our playoff previews this year were from the regular season to help stabilize sample sizes.


Offensive Efficiency

Miami: 109.0 per 100 possessions (ranked #1 in the NBA)

San Antonio: 108.2 per 100 possessions (ranked #6 in the NBA)

Miami has the best offense in basketball, which they hide by playing a very slow pace. Once you adjust for that, they’re at the top of the heap. And, that’s despite the fact that they tend to go at three-quarter speed in the regular season. They’re even tougher to stop in the playoffs! Indiana sure found that out. Indiana’s stout defense was no match for LeBron James and company in the halfcourt. San Antonio is excellent as well on offense, but not as efficient on a per-possession basis.


Defensive Efficiency

Miami: 102.9 per 100 possessions (ranked #11 in the NBA)

San Antonio: 100.1 per 100 possessions (ranked #4 in the NBA)

San Antonio gets the nod here. People don’t think of them as having a great defense because they don’t have a dynamic shot blocker who scares people at the rim. They do a great job with fundamentals though, and are more athletic than people realize up and down the roster. Miami will have stretches where they can hang with SA defensively. They don’t have the depth to do that all the time though.


Pace Ranking

Miami: #27

San Antonio: #12

This could very much be a series where controlling the pace determines who wins. Miami wants things slow as can be so they can exploit their edges in the halfcourt. San Antonio wants it faster because they have the depth to handle a consistently speedy attack, and they have guys who can spot up and hit treys on the break. The slower things get, the better it is for Miami. San Antonio does NOT want to settle into a possession-by-possession wrestling match.


Against the Spread

Miami: 37-43-2 (11-7-1 in the playoffs)

San Antonio: 45-37 (9-9 in the playoffs)

Miami has kicked things up a notch in the playoffs, as they usually do. Even though everyone knew they were best in the East, they still covered at a 61% clip in the postseason. San Antonio has been on fire in the last two rounds. They were 1-6 ATS in the Dallas series, only covering the finale. The Spurs are 8-3 ATS since then…only failing once vs. Portland, and then in the first two games after Ibaka returned in the OKC series.


Las Vegas Line: San Antonio by 4, total of 198.5

It’s tough to judge home court value here because Miami typically gets a lot of respect as a visitor. It could turn out that these teams are pegged as dead even by the markets on a neutral court, with both laying -4 when playing on their home floors. Or, perhaps, Miami will only be -3 or -3.5 when the series moves to South Beach. Both teams have earned respect from those who matter in the markets (oddsmakers and sharps).

JIM HURLEY has taken full advantage of the days off since the conference finals ended. He’s been in contact with his SCOUTS and SOURCES to find out the very latest on Tony Parker’s injury situation. He’s been working with his STATHEADS and COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS to make sure his game and series simulations are on the money. He’s been talking regularly with his WISE GUY SOURCES in Las Vegas and offshore to get a read on the smart money. NETWORK’S exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach is going to give you the very best shot of GETTING THE MONEY tonight and all through the Championship Finals!

You can purchase the final word for GAME ONE right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155. Don’t forget that THE BELMONT goes this Saturday. Check on combination packages that include the final jewel of the Triple Crown, the NBA Championships, and our award-winning baseball.


Here’s the NOTEBOOK schedule for the rest of the week:

Friday: MLB series preview for the LA Dodgers at Colorado

Saturday: Boston at Detroit in MLB on FOX in prime time

Sunday: Game Two of the NBA Finals…Miami at San Antonio

Monday: MLB series preview for Oakland at the LA Angels

Tuesday: Game Three of the NBA Finals…San Antonio at Miami

Our next basketball preview will be Sunday. Plenty of great baseball to talk about on the non-basketball days. Make sure you’re with us seven days a week.

And…always remember…when championships are on the line, YOU NEED WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!

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