Any Game 6 is automatically an elimination game for one team. A series that has already featured a great deal of emotion and passion will become even more spirited this Saturday.
Eastern Conference Finals, Game 6:
Miami Heat @ Indiana Pacers – Saturday, June 1
Betting line: no line
Why Miami Will Win
When people pursue a sports betting play, they slip up when getting locked into tunnel vision. Even football betting gurus who possess minimal knowledge of professional basketball could face up to the knowledge that while Indiana has controlled the style of play for most of the first four games of this series, the Pacers have not been able to take the lead in this best-of-seven clash. Miami does not look or feel like a team that’s on the run. The Heat punched and counterpunched in Game 4 of this series, trading blows in what was a very even contest. Miami led by three points, 89-86, inside the four-minute mark of regulation. The Heat simply didn’t make enough game-closing plays. LeBron James fouled out in the final minute of regulation, while Dwyane Wade was called for traveling in the final minute as well. A lot of bad breaks went against the Heat, and the odds are low that more misfortune will plague the defending champions in the closing stretch of this series. LeBron knows how to bring down the hammer, and Indiana – while admirably competitive – does not know what it feels like to drive the stake in Miami’s heart… or make the NBA Finals. No one on this Indiana roster has been a starter on an NBA Finals team. The Heat’s battle-tested identity is going to be a very important asset for them in this situation.
Why Indiana Will Win
No NCAA football betting expert would dismiss Indiana’s ability to win this game without giving the matter some thought. When you go over your next sportsbook review, you will see that the Pacers have generally carried the run of play in this series, largely because they have the right counters to the Heat’s smaller and quicker assemblage of players.
Indiana big man Roy Hibbert is a more developed and polished center compared to 2012. He has more low-post moves, and his level of belief has grown. Hibbert can dominate games more often at this stage of his career; he was a bit too hesitant in 2012, but as you saw in Game 4 of this series on Tuesday night, Hibbert is a force in the paint that Miami cannot consistently contain. Teammate David West also gives Indiana the kind of heft and savvy in the paint that can really bother Miami, a team that doesn’t always protect the backboard. Miami forward Chris Bosh, a vital part of the Heat’s roster, has been thoroughly outplayed by Hibbert and West all series long, a big reason the Pacers have dictated the terms on which this series has been contested through the first four games.
As you study up for this game, you will find other reasons to go with Indiana. Paul George has shown signs of becoming a genuine superstar in this series. Yes, it’s true that George does not yet deserve to be called a superstar – you have to establish yourself at a high level with great consistency in order to deserve such stature – but George is capable of playing extremely well for extended stretches of time, as shown in his Game 2 performance last Friday in Miami. As long as LeBron James doesn’t try to post him up, George can defend LeBron on the perimeter. Indiana is also getting more out of guard Lance Stephenson, while point guard George Hill has proved to be a steady (and steadying) influence for the Pacers as a whole.
Who Will Win?
This figures to be another down-to-the-wire game, since most installments of this series have been nail-biters. Only Game 3 was the exception. Look for Indiana to find solutions at the defensive end of the floor and take one more win on its home floor.
NBA Betting Pick: Indiana