Opening Betting Line : Mavericks +4.5 / Heat -4.5
Over/Under : 188
Game Time : 9 PM EST Tuesday May 31, 2011 on ABC
Both the Heat and the Mavericks come into to the finals red-hot and even though Game 1 is in Miami and the Heat are favored the Mavericks won both games between these 2 teams this season. The Heat did not start the season on fire, but then they went on a 22-2 run, but both of those losses came against the Mavs. However, both those games were before Christmas and the Heat are now a different team and LeBron James looks like he is on a mission.
Can the Heat contain Dirk Nowitzki? That is the big question in this Game 1 and for the series and the 7-foot German has been sensational in the playoffs averaging 28.4 ppg on 51.7% and pulling down 7.5 rpg.
In their conference finals closeout games the Heat beat the Chicago Bulls 83-80 on Thursday night and the Mavs beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-96 on Wednesday night.
This season Dallas is 56-38-3 ATS and Miami is 50-46-1 ATS. In the 2 games between the Heat and the Mavs in the regular season Dallas covered the spread both times and the total went Over both times.
One key player in this series is Dallas C Tyson Chandler, as the Heat do not have much of an inside presence. In the regular season the Heat shot 66% from the field within 3-feet of the basket, but in the 2 games against Dallas they shot 52%. If Chandler can play good D in the paint and the Mavs force the Heat into making jump shots Dallas has a great chance to win Game 1.
Chandler and the big guys of the Mavs have to keep tabs on Chris Bosh and not allow him to dominate in the paint. Udonis Haslem has come back from injury and he will have to help Bosh out, especially on the boards.
The Mavericks’ defense was decent, but not great, in the last series, as they won with their offense. On the other side of the coin the Miami defense was solid in against the Bulls. With the great defense that the Heat have Dallas will have to suck it up on defense to win this game and the series because they will likely not light up the scoreboard. In both games against the Heat this season the Mavs did not score over 100 points.
LeBron James has looked great in the playoffs averaging 25.9 ppg and 8.7 rpg and he will be tough to stop and his passing is a big key to the Heat winning.
Dwyane Wade did not have the best series against the Bulls only shooting 40.5% from the floor and he will need to shoot the rock betting in this series. DeShawn Stevenson will likely guard him and Wade should be able to score on him and the Heat, especially James, has to look for him.
The Mavs have a big advantage with their bench of Jason Terry, J.J. Barea, Peja Stojakovic, and Brendan Haywood and if these guys can score like in the last series Dallas will be sitting pretty.
In some betting trends for Game 1 of the NBA finals:
Dallas is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 playoff games as an underdog of 0.5-4.5, 19-6-1 ATS in their last 26 games, and has an Over record of 5-2 in their last 7 games.
Miami is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 home games, 6-0 ATS in their last 6 playoff games as a favorite, and has an Over record of 6-0 in their last 6 home games.
Our Selection : Dallas has been a great fade when scoring 90 points or less this season, losing 11 of 16 games. The Heat found the recipe to success in last round play versus Chicago, holding the Bulls to 85 or fewer points in regulation (4 straight wins). We believe that we'll see more of the same in this series. Take Miami -4.5 at Bodog where you can bet on Sports and play Poker!(US players included).
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