Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2017

Currently: 72° — Complete forecast

NBA Finals in Vegas: Heat vs. Spurs Game 2 betting preview, odds and picks


AP Photo/Eric Gay

Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers, left, and forward LeBron James watch action against the San Antonio Spurs from the bench during the second half in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Thursday, June 5, 2014 in San Antonio.

Sunday's Game 2

  • Spread: Miami plus-4.5 at San Antonio
  • Moneyline: Miami (plus-165) at San Antonio (minus-185)
  • Total: Over/under 199 points
  • Talking Points pick: Under 199 points (0-1)

Game 2 Player Over/Unders

  • Tim Duncan points-plus-rebounds: 28.5
  • Manu Ginobli points-plus-assists: 19.5
  • Kawhi Leonard points-plus-rebounds: 18.5
  • Tony Parker points: 18
  • LeBron James points: 28.5
  • Dwyane Wade points-plus-rebounds: 23
  • Chris Bosh points: 15.5
  • Talking Points pick: Tony Parker under 18 points (1-0)
  • All numbers come from the LVH Superbook.

While the air conditioning malfunction heated San Antonio’s AT&T Center during Game 1 of the NBA Finals, it cooled Las Vegas sports books.

A potentially profitable start to the final basketball event of the year for the house cramped up like LeBron James’ legs in the fourth quarter. Sports books were feeling hot after three quarters of play Thursday night in the River Walk oven.

Bettors had boosted the Spurs all the way up to minus-5 before the game, leaving the books to root for the Heat. With Miami leading by seven a couple minutes into the fourth quarter, that looked like an ideal situation.

Then exhaustion happened. James eventually couldn’t continue and San Antonio rolled to one of the most misleading 10-point covers, 110-95, in Finals history with the world’s best player on the bench, unable to compete.

The Spurs’ onslaught of six fourth-quarter three-pointers — with three by Danny Green and two by Kawhi Leonard — also pushed the game over the total by six points, another negative result for the casino. The over was on pace the whole game, to be fair, but San Antonio’s plodding 20-point third quarter gave the under a chance.

A chance that sizzled like a furnace on fire a few minutes later. And now the Spurs are the ones out in front of a trail of a smoke.

The LVH Superbook adjusted its series price to minus-215 (risking $2.15 to win $1) in favor of the Spurs with the Heat coming back at plus-185 (risking $1 to win $1.85). Adjusting for the house’s hold percentage, the line implies a two-thirds probability of San Antonio winning the title.

Now is the time for anyone who still likes Miami in the series to act. History may even indicate some value on the Heat, or at least some comfort that the wager isn’t immediately combustible.

In each of the previous four cases that the Finals included the Heat, the winner of Game 1 has gone on to lose the series. Coincidentally enough, those are the only four instances of Game 1 losers emerging as champions in the last 10 years.

Dating back 20 years, the only other teams to win Game 1 and lose the series are the 2001 Philadelphia 76ers, which dropped the next four straight to the Los Angeles Lakers, and the 1998 Utah Jazz, which lost in six to the Chicago Bulls.

At a minimum, gamblers haven’t blazed to the window to bet against the Heat in Game 2. San Antonio minus-4.5 has stuck as the line thus far, though could change before today’s 5 p.m. tipoff, with a couple books reporting slightly more tickets on Miami.

Some bettors will follow the zig-zag theory, which has enjoyed another profitable NBA Playoffs. The approach of betting on the team that lost the prior game is 39-31 against the spread this year.

Betting on the team unaffected by an air conditioning outage is a perfect 1-0.

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

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy