The 2013 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs all comes down to Game 7 on Thursday night.
A champion will finally be crowned as an epic series concludes and puts a cap on an excellent 2012-13 campaign.
For basketball bettors, this ultimate showdown represents the last meaningful action for the next few months.
You aren’t going to want to miss placing a wager down on this one, as it’s possibly the only way to make things even more thrilling, aside from being at the game itself.
Let’s take a look at the latest lines and make a prediction on the winner in our last-minute gambling guide.
*Lines courtesy of ScoresAndOdds.com, trends courtesy of Covers.com
Point Spread: Heat -6
The sportsbooks clearly believe that the Heat are going to take this one in blowout fashion, capitalizing on the momentum gained by ripping out the collective heart of the Spurs on Tuesday evening.
It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which an exhausted Tim Duncan, hobbled Tony Parker and run-down Manu Ginobili simply aren’t able to muster enough physical and mental energy required to compete in Game 7, but that won’t be the case.
In fact, the Spurs are one of the best bounce-back teams in the league, especially against the spread in the playoffs.
Which team will cover the spread?
Over the last five games following a straight-up loss, San Antonio is 5-0 ATS. They are more than capable of showing up for this one and will be 100 percent ready to play.
On the other hand, the Heat are prone to resting on their laurels and are 0-8 ATS after a straight-up victory in their last eight playoff contests.
Don’t be surprised when this is closer than imagined and comes down to a thrilling last-second shot to decide which team claims the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
With that in mind, Spurs +6 is a steal and well worth a heavy bet.
Point Total: 189
Lean toward the over, as these two opponents tend to bring out the best of one another on the offensive end.
The previous four contests have all gone over, although it took a miraculous Ray Allen three-pointer and a special LeBron James performance to force the overtime required to reach and surpass the set total in Game 6.
With limited rest after those 53 intense minutes of basketball, expect both sides to come out a bit tired and lax on the defensive end. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say the scoring will come easy until things ratchet up in intensity around the fourth quarter.
Don’t rule out another triple-digit scoring game for both the Heat and Spurs on Thursday, going well over the total in an all-out point bonanza for the Finals title.
As much as the world would like to see another overtime classic, it’s a safe bet that this one will be decided in regulation.
In basketball, talent tends to trump all and home-court advantage in the Finals has been quite indicative of success.
The Heat have both these benefits going for them, as LeBron James is easily the best player alive at this juncture, and they get to play in AmericanAirlines Arena to close out the series.
It’ll be close, but Miami will ultimately prevail by focusing in and rallying for a narrow, come-from-behind fourth-quarter victory for the ages.
Prediction: Heat 101 – Spurs 99