NBA Finals Betting Guide: Friday 10/2/20
Heat +9.5: 5-Star Rating out of 5
Under 216.5: 1-Star Rating out of 5
Game 1 in this series showed a lot of what could go wrong for the Heat and go right for the Lakers, who won 116-98 and were up 93-67 through three quarters, winning each of the first three quarters. A 31-23 fourth quarter for the Heat helped narrow the gap to no avail.
Despite that, our model likes the Heat to keep this one closer and loves the Heat +9.5 points. Teams representing the Heat covered the spread in 12 of the 18 most similar historical comparisons in our database, which account for team similarities. This goes against the betting trends on oddsFire, which show just 27% of the money coming in on the Heat to cover. With Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo doubtful, it'll be a tough ask for the Heat to keep it close, but the algorithm does see clear value there.
The under is another spot where the algorithm disagrees with the betting public.
Whereas 59% of the tickets and 66% of the money is on the over, our algorithm views the under hitting 56.0% of the time. One big reason to believe in the under is that the Heat's offensive rating falls to a dreadful 100.6 without Dragic and Adebayo but with Jimmy Butler (to help adjust for garbage time when all three were out). That mark would have ranked 3.8 points per 100 possessions worse than the worst offense in the league in the 2019-20 season.
The scoring pace through three quarters of Game 1 would have totaled 213.3 points over a full four quarters, and now the Heat should struggle to generate as much offense as they mustered two days ago.