NBA Finals Game 1 – Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Scouting Report / Picks
By: Billy Brisbane (@gettin_Bills_)
Tuesday, September 30th, 2020
One of the biggest surprises in the bubble has been the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference. The Miami Heat were 60-1 long shots to make the NBA finals. They are the biggest long-shot odds team to make to the Finals since 2002. In addition, the Heat are the lowest-seeded team to make the finals since the New York Knicks in the 1999 lockout NBA season. A win in these finals will make the Heat and 1995 Houston Rockets the only teams to win the finals with a No.5 seed or lower. The Lakers, on the other hand, look to reestablish their legacy of a dominant franchise and collect their 17th championship.
What we already know
Miami vs. LAL (-4.5) → Over/Under 218
It’s always interesting to examine how the public is attacking these games that have been on the Sportsbook for a while. The current stance is the Lakers coming in as heavy favorites; they are on 64% of the tickets and 72% of the money on the spread, according to Draftkings. People also might think Vegas put up a low over-under as 80% of the money is currently coming on the over. One stat to take away from for both teams, starting with the Heat, they have outscored their opponents by 4.4 points per game, which is the second biggest point differential, from 3-point range. The change of scenery also has benefited Miami, with them being the best fourth-quarter team (+17.8 points per 100 possessions) in the postseason. Miami was the third-worst fourth quarter-team (-5.8 per 100) in the regular season. The Lakers led all postseason teams with 23.3 transition points per game, according to Synergy play-type tracking. They also have the second-highest rate in the playoffs at 19.5 of their possessions being in transition. The Heat, in the last series against the Celtics, implemented a lot of zone defense. The Lakers can blow that zone out of the water; they have faced 30 possessions of zone in the playoffs. 0.93 points per possession the Lakers scored against zone ranks third among the ten teams who have faced at least ten possessions of zone in the postseason.
They’ll never be an ending debate if Jordan or Lebron are the best players to ever play in the NBA. But there’s no debate of Lebron being the best current active player. He leads the bubble playoffs so far with 11 double-doubles and four triple-doubles. In addition, being one of fives who have averaged at least 20 points and ten rebounds per game in the playoffs, and his 8.9 assists per game are the most among players who haven’t been swept in the 1st round. The Heat will have their hands filled trying to guard Lebron; I expect to see a combination of Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, and Andre Iguodala.
Oddly enough, this the third time in Lebron’s career, he’s been favored in the NBA Finals and the biggest favorite he’s been against a team. He’s 1-1 as a favorite and all-time 3-6 record in the NBA finals. One alarming stat is Lebron is just 2-7 ATS in Game 1. The sharp money will be on the Heat. But where will the smart money be for bettors?
(Vegas Odds of Lebron in the Finals)
|2020||Lakers (-375)||Heat (+280)|
|2018||Warriors (-1075)||Cavaliers (+688)|
|2017||Warriors (-300)||Cavaliers (+250)|
|2016||Warriors (-220)||Cavaliers (+180)|
|2015||Warriors (-220)||Cavaliers (+190)|
|2014||Spurs (-155)||Heat (+135)|
|2013||Heat (-220)||Spurs (+180)|
|2012||Thunder (-175)||Heat (+155)|
|2011||Heat (-175)||Mavericks (+155)|
|2007||Spurs (-450)||Cavaliers (+360)|
Picks / Player Props
Spread: Lakers 4.5 (-112)
The Heat are coming off of an emotional Eastern Conference series against the Celtics. While the
Lakers might have the easiest path to the championship in recent memory. They should come out hot in Game 1 and overall should get this series done in 5 or 6 games.
Fanduel Special: Lebron James Double Double / Lakers Win (+124)
Favorite Prop: Anthony Davis Finals MVP (+250) / Jimmy Butler Finals MVP (+900)
Favorite Plus Money Prop: Miami Heat first to 10 (+102)
Best Bet: Under 217.5 (-109)
Both teams want to focus on their defense. It won’t be an up and down game that’s why my best bet is the Under 217.5. The last time the Lakers had this high of a total was game 3 against the Rockets. The last time the Heat had this high of a total was game 5 against the Bucks.