NBA Finals 2020: Heat vs. Lakers Odds, TV Schedule and Game 1 Live Stream

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis (3) drives against Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic (15) during the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

LeBron James' 10th NBA Finals appearance comes with a unique twist that the previous nine did not have. 

For the first time in his career, James will face one of his former teams in the best-of-seven championship series. 

The Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat begin their title showdown Wednesday inside the Orlando bubble after both teams closed out victories over the weekend. 

The Lakers, with James and Anthony Davis in tow, are understandably the favorites to take home the Larry O'Brien Trophy. That is reflected in the Game 1 betting line.

Miami proved throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs that it will not back away from a challenge, and its experience against Milwaukee and Boston could help it remain close for four quarters Wednesday.

                

NBA Finals Game 1 Information

Date: Wednesday, September 30

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Start Time: 9 p.m. ET

TV: ABC

Live Stream: ESPN.com or ESPN app

      

Odds

Miami (+166) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (-4.5; -198) (Over/Under: 217.5)

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

       

The Lakers and Heat both recorded three wins with over 110 points in the conference finals round. 

If that production carries over into Game 1 with a few extra days to rest, the over/under may be the best play Wednesday.

However, the Game 1 history of both teams in the bubble and the totals from the last five NBA Finals openers suggest the over could produce much more of a sweat than wanted. 

In the last five NBA Finals, an average of 214 points has been scored in Game 1. The Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 and 2017 were the only participants that failed to hit triple digits in those games. 

In the bubble, Miami's series openers averaged 221.3 points per game, and its team total has varied from 113 against Indiana to 117 versus Boston. 

The Lakers' Game 1 average is seven points lower at 214. Two of those three games were losses to Portland and Houston, in which they were held under triple digits. 

Los Angeles corrected its Game 1 form by lighting up the Denver defense for 126 points to open up the Western Conference Finals. 

Since the averages are right around the projected total of 217.5, you may feel more inclined to bet on the spread with a more favorable trend going in your favor. 

In 11 of their 12 playoff victories, the Lakers possessed a margin of victory above five points. The outlier in that group was a two-point win in Game 2 against Denver. 

Two of Miami's three postseason defeats have been by double digits. The losses in Games 3 and 5 to the Celtics happened in part because of poor three-point shooting. 

In Game 3, the Heat shot 27.3 percent from downtown, and they were even worse with a 19.4 three-point shooting night in Game 5. 

The Lakers also went through a similar issue in their Game 3 defeat to the Nuggets, as they made six of 26 three-point attempts. 

Those totals were significantly lower than their postseason averages. The Heat are shooting 35.7 percent from deep, and the Lakers are close behind at 35.5 percent. 

If the game comes down to three-point shooting, Miami could be in better shape to defend that area of the court. The Heat held playoff opponents to 34.5 percent, while teams have shot 36.2 percent from downtown versus the Lakers. 

If the Lakers limit the production of Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro and others, they could take the early advantage and cover. 

Conversely, if Miami starts hot and remains competitive with its three-point shooting, it could pose a similar challenge to the Lakers that Denver did in Game 2, and it may lead to covering as an underdog. 

           

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference