NBA Playoffs 2012: Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers, Game 4 Odds

Jeff Grant@@JeffGrantSportsContributor IMay 18, 2012

The Miami Heat (1-2) and Indiana Pacers (2-1) will continue their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series on Sunday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, with the opening tip scheduled for Sunday, May 20 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Las Vegas oddsmakers have opened up the Heat as two-point road favorites in Game 4, while the total has quickly dropped a half-point to settle in at 178.5.

Miami finds itself trailing in a 2012 NBA playoff series for the first time after dropping a 94-75 decision to the Indiana Pacers as two-point road favorites in Game 3 on Thursday night. The Heat jumped out to a nine-point first-quarter lead, but were outscored by a 77-49 margin the rest of the way.

Sports bettors should be cautious in facing the Heat in anticipation of them losing three games in a row, as it happened just once during the 2011-12 regular season. It's still important to note that all three of those contests were played away from South Beach, as the squad was closing out a five-game road trip in January.

Indiana will be dealing with the added pressure of leading in this series, needing just two more wins to advance to the conference finals and face either the Boston Celtics or Philadelphia 76ers. The Pacers are 5-3 against the spread during the postseason, while the "under" is 6-2 in those contests.

The Pacers have benefited from facing opponents that haven't been at full strength, closing out their first-round series with the Orlando Magic in five games without needing to game plan for All-Star center Dwight Howard, while Heat power forward Chris Bosh has missed the last two games and is declared out for Sunday's affair. 

Miami hasn't trailed in a playoff series since dropping Game 1 of last year's Eastern Conference finals to the Chicago Bulls. They responded to that early adversity and closed out the series in five games.

Will the Heat rise again?

It's hard to imagine that they could face elimination in returning to the Sunshine State for Game 5 on Wednesday night, but crazier things have happened.

 

Follow on Twitter: @JeffGrantSports 

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