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April 24, 2014

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NBA Finals in Vegas: Sports book facts and figures on Heat comeback, Game 7

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Miami Heat shooting guard Ray Allen (34) shoots a three-point basket in the end of regulation during the second half of Game 6 of the NBA Finals basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Wednesday, June 19, 2013 in Miami

Game 7

  • Spread: San Antonio +6 @ Miami
  • Moneyline: San Antonio +250 @ Miami -300
  • Total: o/u 189.5
  • Talking Points' pick: Heat -6
  • Numbers from LVH Superbook

Game 7 Player Over/Unders

  • LeBron James points: 29.5
  • Tim Duncan points + rebounds 29.5
  • Tony Parker points + assists 28
  • Chris Bosh points + rebounds 22
  • Kawhi Leonard points + rebounds 21.5
  • Dwyane Wade points 18
  • Manu Ginobili points 12.5
  • Numbers from LVH Superbook

The dramatic finish in Game 6 of the NBA Finals caused at least three different groups of people spread throughout the country in separate time zones to look foolish.

There were, of course, the much-ridiculed Miami fans who fled the American Airlines Arena exits early before their Heat sparked to win 103-100 in overtime. San Antonio supporters who flooded the Riverwalk anticipating a celebration before their Spurs dulled took their barbs, too.

They both had cousins of commiseration in Las Vegas. With the Spurs up 94-89 with 28 seconds left, more than a few gamblers are surely guilty of lurking around the payout line in sports books with perceived winning wagers.

San Antonio was a popular play on they moneyline at plus-290 (risking $1 to win $2.90) to beat Miami Tuesday. Those who liked the Spurs when the Finals matchup was set even bet on the upset to happen in six games with relative heaviness. The odds on the proposition wager went from 7-to-1 to 5-to-1 before the start of the series at the LVH Superbook.

Now both tickets are as useful as a newspaper front page heralding the Spurs in six, and also in the same place — the trash. It’s hard to believe considering the equity holders of those bets possessed before three-pointers from LeBron James and Ray Allen in the final 20 seconds of regulation coincided with a missed free throw from Kawhi Leonard.

The Spurs were a minus-5,000 (risking $50 to win $1) favorite to earn their fifth championship in live betting, according to sports betting website wagerminds.com.

That equates to approximately a 98 percent chance, or nearly four times the probability oddsmakers give San Antonio of winning one final game.

The Spurs are plus-250 (risking $1 to win $2.50) with the Heat towering over at minus-300 on the moneyline going into Thursday’s Game 7.

Someone believes in San Antonio, though. The spread is now minus-6 in favor of Miami all around town after opening a half-point higher Tuesday night.

NBA Finals history obviously isn’t where they’re getting confidence. The last time an away team won a Game 7 was 35 years ago when Wes Unseld led the Washington Bullets to a 105-99 win over the Seattle Supersonics.

In the six instances since, the home team has prevailed including most recently in 2010 when the Los Angeles Lakers won their second straight title with an 83-79 victory over the Boston Celtics. The Celtics, however, managed to cover the 7-point line.

Tonight’s game will mark the most gambled on single basketball contest since that Game 7 three years ago. An all-or-nothing clash is exactly what sports book directors wanted.

That it could come in procession of an ideal scenario — the Heat winning, but not covering Tuesday and stirring up interest with an instant-classic Game 6 — is a bonus.

Perhaps this series was destined to play out until the end. The betting market may have seen it coming.

Sports books posted the Heat winning in seven games as the most likely outcome at 3-to-1 odds two weeks ago. The Spurs in seven were listed at 13-to-2.

Hold on to those tickets until the bitter end of Game 7. No matter how bleak it looks, the one-, or specifically two-percent shots could always come through.

The Game 6 fools don’t need any more company.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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