The last six times the Miami Heat were underdogs, they lost.
After disposing of the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games to claim the NBA’s Western Conference championship, the San Antonio Spurs enter the NBA Finals as minus-125 favorites to knock off the two-time defending champion Heat and claim their first NBA title since 2007.
The Heat, sporting odds of plus-105, reached their fourth consecutive Finals by disposing top-seeded Indiana in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals tips off Thursday night in San Antonio with the Spurs opening as 3.5-point favorites. The Heat are just 1-5 ATS in those six games while getting points, according to the NBA database at Odds Shark.
It is the second straight year Miami and San Antonio will battle for the NBA championship. In 2013, the Spurs came within a missed buzzer-beater of defeating the Heat in six games.
However, after forcing a seventh game with overtime heroics, the Heat never looked back; they became only the fourth team in NBA history to overcome a 3-2 deficit in the Finals and win the championship.
Entering the current campaign, Miami was pegged as the favorite to capture its third straight title—a position it held all season. In contrast, the Spurs opened the season trailing Miami in NBA futures betting and it was not until the end of the regular season that San Antonio would emerge as a futures favorite going into the playoffs.
The two squads met twice during the regular season with each team winning at home in convincing fashion. Both teams owned 32-9 home records during the regular season, but it was San Antonio’s road dominance (30-11) that powered them to an NBA best 62-20 regular season record.
That said, it is the Heat who have posted both the better record in the playoffs—both straight up and against the spread. Miami has gone undefeated in eight home games during the playoffs en route to a 12-3 record during the first three rounds, 10-5 ATS.
The Spurs struggled in their first-round series against Dallas, needing seven games to knock off the pesky Mavericks—covering the spread only in Game 7. However, San Antonio has played strong ball since.
Greg Popovich's team eliminated Portland in five games before facing the Thunder, going 8-3 in the two series and covering the spread in each of those eight victories.