We're here: Game 1 of the NBA Finals. For Spurs fans, it's been an entirely-too-long 10 day wait. For LeBron, I'm sorry, Heat fans, it's been a tiny bit shorter.
Over the past couple days, we've already recapped all of our full game-by-game projections for this series as well as the reasons behind why Miami will win in 6. Our opinions on the matter are pretty well known.
But that's not why I'm here today. There's a lot more happening besides who will win or lose the game. Sure, we have premium projections for that, but what about the prop bets?
That's where we come in. With some help from numberFire Chief Analyst Keith Goldner, here are some of the top prop bets to focus on today, along with our odds and the Vegas odds (taken from the betting line) that each instance is going to happen.
Important Notes: All prop lines are taken from Bovada and may vary elsewhere. In addition, these numbers are taken from year-long averages and are not adjusted for opponent. Goldner believes the defense would make about a 5-10 percent difference, which means all of these odds given remain significant even if both teams stick to their regular-season average D.
The Player Props
LeBron James - Average 27.5 Points for the series - Over (-115)
numberFire Odds - 62.8%
Vegas Odds - 53.5%
Because of the defense caveat I gave above, this is perhaps the closest of the player props that is still worth looking at. With 28.1 projected points for Game 1 and a 29.1 percent playoff usage rate though, there is no denying where the Heat are going to be headed with the ball. LeBron may only be averaging 26.2 PPG during the playoffs, but remember, the Pacers (who the Heat played in seven of LeBron's 16 games) allowed an NBA-low .427 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) against small forwards this season. The Spurs were up at .476 eFG%.
Chris Bosh - Average 14.5 Points for the series - Over (-110)
numberFire Odds - 87.5%
Vegas Odds - 52.4%
It's a wonder what four games can do. Chris Bosh didn't hit double-figures in Games 4 through 7 of the Indiana series, and now he's not even expected to average 14.5 PPG during the Finals? Talk about small sample size. His 19.2 percent usage rate is only a bit below his 22.7 percent season average, and he managed 16.6 PPG during the regular season. You can talk about Tim Duncan's defense all you want, but centers still shot a not-half-bad .494 eFG% against San Antonio during the regular season.
Tony Parker - Average 7 Assists for the series - Over (-125)
numberFire Odds - 81.3%
Vegas Odds - 55.5%
Tony Parker assisted on 40.4 percent of his teammates' field goals during the regular season and 35.8 percent during the playoffs. Despite San Antonio playing at a pace that registered 4.2 possessions per 48 minutes slower than in the regular season (thanks to playing Memphis), Parker has still averaged seven assists per game during the playoffs. And the Heat allowed opposing PGs to average 7.9 assists per 48 minutes during the regular season while their own point guards could only collect 5.8 over the same span. I'm not seeing the issue here.
The Team Props
Per-Game Series Odds
|Outcome||nF Odds||Bovada Line|
|Miami in 4||9.82%||7/1|
|Miami in 5||14.66%||9/2|
|Miami in 6||24.08%||7/2|
|Miami in 7||19.87%||7/2|
|San Antonio in 4||2.90%||18/1|
|San Antonio in 5||9.59%||9/1|
|San Antonio in 6||9.02%||11/2|
|San Antonio in 7||10.06%||13/2|
Best Odds: None of Them
Well, that's mildly disappointing. Given the series odds, I wouldn't take any single one of these bets. You're more likely to lose money, with the four percent difference on Miami in 6 being at least your closest chance. Thanks for nothing once again, Vegas.
5.5 Total Games in Series - Under (+160)
numberFire Odds - 37.0%
Vegas Odds - 34.7%
However, strangely enough, Vegas will throw you a tiny bone with their over/under on expected games. Sure, it's a risky bet with only a little over one-third odds, and sure, the difference between numberFire's projected odds and Vegas's simulated odds only sits at 2.3 percent. However, with this set of Team Odds, you'll need to take advantage of any slight inefficiency you can manage.
Where will the Series Be Decided? - San Antonio (+160)
numberFire Odds - 37.0%
Vegas Odds - 34.7%
Essentially, this is the same question with the same odds as before, so I'm not quite sure why it's split up. For people who aren't paying attention? But remember, the Finals is a 2-3-2 format, so as long as the series doesn't extend to 6 games, it's ending in San Antonio.