It's better to be lucky than good.
"Pacer bettors could take solace in covering the spread in that OT loss, but true fans have to feel they are in big trouble now," said Mark Presley, an analyst at OddsShark.com.
What do these close calls mean for the NBA futures betting market? Very little apparently, as the Heat and Spurs remain heavy favorites to meet in the upcoming NBA Championship series.
"It seems the basketball betting strategy of backing teams that have not overworked their stars during the season will continue as neither the Heat nor the Spurs had a player with more than 3,000 minutes," added Presley.
That angle prematurely doomed the Thunder as Kevin Durant was comfortably over 3,000 minutes played in the regular season.
Defending champion Miami, the top seed in the East, had a very difficult time with Indiana Wednesday night, never leading by more than five points and allowing the Pacers to tie the game on a Paul George three-point shot near the fourth-quarter buzzer.
And the Heat trailed by a point with two seconds to go in the overtime. But Miami inbounded the ball to James, who made a hard drive to the hole. With Indiana inexplicably having benched center Roy Hibbert, the Heat escaped with a 103-102 Game 1 victory.
Miami, however, failed to cover the point spread Wednesday as eight-point home chalk.
Heading into Game 2 of that series Friday night, the Heat were lined at -1000 to win the Eastern Conference, with the Pacers getting +700 to rally and win the series.
Over in the West, San Antonio took Game 1 of their conference finals rather easily, beating the Grizzlies 105-83, covering as five-point favorites. But the Spurs made things interesting in Game 2, blowing a late 13-point lead, allowing Memphis to force overtime.
San Antonio then hung on for a 93-89 victory to take a 2-0 series lead.
Heading into Game 3 of this series Saturday night in Memphis, San Antonio was a -480 favorite to go on and win this series, while the Grizz were getting +380 to come from behind and take it.
Finally, on the updated NBA championship odds board, Miami tops the betting at odds of 1/3, followed by San Antonio at 7/2, Memphis at 13/1 and Indiana at 20/1.
And on the “exact matchup” board at Bovada, a Heat-Spurs Finals series was listed at odds of 4/11, followed by a Heat-Grizzlies series at 4/1, a Spurs-Pacers series at 7/1 and a Pacers-Grizzlies series at 28/1.
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