Eastern Conference Finals, Game 1:
Indiana Pacers OR New York Knicks @ Miami Heat – Wednesday, May 22
No college football betting expert can deny the importance of matchups, but with Indiana and New York still playing their Eastern Conference semifinal series, it is not yet known if the Eastern Conference Finals will be an Indiana-Miami or New York-Miami pairing. When you go over your facts and prepare to make a play at any of the best betting sites around, you will see that you’ll have to make different kinds of considerations based on the opponent the Heat will encounter next Wednesday night in South Florida.
If Indiana plays the Heat, you’re going to have to prepare for a very ugly and defense-dominated series. The Pacers like to muck up the game – not in terms of being overly physical, but in terms of emphasizing the need to slow their opponent’s offense to a halt. The Pacers have terrific wing defenders, especially Paul George, who has bothered and contained New York superstar Carmelo Anthony to this point in the East semis. George could cause fits for LeBron James and force Miami’s role players to hit perimeter shots. Those role players – Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers, and Norris Cole – have not been particularly consistent shooters as a group, though Cole produced a superb East semifinal series against the Chicago Bulls. If Allen and Battier are not making shots when LeBron or Dwyane Wade give them kickouts, Indiana could create a very close game and use the size of big man Roy Hibbert to bother the Heat.
If New York comes back from a 3-1 series deficit and advances to play Miami, the Knicks will have played three games in five nights, and would have only one day off between the end of the East semifinals and the start of the East finals. The Knicks would present a different kind of challenge for Miami. Indiana’s strength is its defense; New York relies on its offense. The Knicks spread the court and rely on point guard Raymond Felton to break down the defense and find open shooters for threes.
The big issue in this game is ultimately the “rust factor” for Miami. The Heat’s only playoff loss this season came after a seven-day layoff. The Heat will be playing Game 1 of the East finals after a six-day break. Expect the Heat to adjust better and play with more determination this time around. Miami is the clear favorite (though not necessarily the overwhelming favorite) to win this series.
NBA Basketball Betting Pick: Miami
Western Conference Finals, Game 2:
Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs – Tuesday, May 21
When people make a bet on sports, they know that they should look at the larger whole of a situation. When this game tips off, it will be known that one team will have a 1-0 series lead, since Game 1 of this series will be played on Sunday, May 19. Online football betting gurus who don’t devote their attention to the NBA could point out that the loser of Game 1 will face a very urgent situation. The sense here is that Memphis will win Game 1 on Sunday, meaning that in Game 2, San Antonio should bounce back. Pay attention to Game 1, though, before you finally put down money at a betting window.
NBA Basketball Betting Pick: San Antonio