The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are making preparations for what should be a critical Game 3 of 2013 NBA Finals.
With the series tied up following the Spurs’ shocking Game 1 victory and the Heat’s strong retort in Game 2, the action now shifts to San Antonio for the rubber match.
Expect both sides to come out strong and give their best performances, with the Spurs having a slight edge—due to their home-court advantage—according to the bookmakers.
Will they be able to hold off the defending champs as the favorite on Tuesday evening, or will Miami pull off an upset as an underdog playing away from South Beach for the first time this series?
Let’s take a look at the latest lines, give some advice, make a prediction on the outcome and more in our NBA Finals Game 3 preview.
*Lines courtesy of ScoresAndOdds.com, trends courtesy of Covers.com
When: Tuesday, June 11 at 9 p.m. ET
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio
Series Record: Heat 1, Spurs 1
Spread: Spurs -2 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)
Lean towards the Heat here, as the finals representative for the Eastern Conference has a number of advantages and seems to trend towards covering the spread on the road.
Miami is 20-6 in its last 26 games away from AmericanAirlines Arena, a stat that becomes even more impressive when you realize that 18 postseason games are included.
The Heat tend to keep things close against the best opponents, as their 6-2 against-the-spread record over the last eight road games against teams with winning home records proves that they raise the bar and play up to the level of competition.
While some may feel the Heat's level of intensity will be lower after Miami emerged victorious in a must-win Game 2, that shouldn’t be the case.
Remember, the Heat faltered in Game 1 of last year’s finals on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder before rebounding for a Game 2 win and then closing out the series with three straight at home.
Don’t be surprised to see Miami capitalize on the momentum it gained on Sunday and parlay it into another straight-up “W” on Tuesday evening.
Total: 188 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)
Take the under, as it has been the best bet of this series so far and should continue to be for the remainder of the finals.
Both teams are dialed in on defense, with Miami taking a major step forward in Game 2 and forcing the Spurs into an uncharacteristic 16 turnovers. That was the key to the game, as the takeaways helped hold San Antonio to just 84 points in the one-sided affair.
Even with the Heat piling on the points at the other end—scoring 103 with their best player, LeBron James, having a quiet 17-point night—Game 2 still managed to go under the total.
That’s been the case for the last five Heat games overall, and—perhaps more telling—22 of the last 27 meetings between these two teams has gone under.
Expect more of the same as these bitter rivals do their bests to make it tough for each other to generate a single point, keeping the scoring at a minimum.
This will be a back-and-forth battle that more closely resembles the Game 1 slugfest than Game 2’s blowout.
Which team will cover the spread?
However, with Miami establishing a foothold and stealing the momentum on Sunday night, it’s now looking more and more likely that the defending champs blow this series open and take a commanding 2-1 lead.
Although the fans in San Antonio will add another dimension to the Spurs’ tough defenses and inspire the players to give maximum effort at all times, the disparity in skill level will shine through in the end.
Simply put, the Heat are the better team and—if they execute on offense and lock in on defense—will outright win Game 3.
Heat 88, Spurs 85