NBA Finals 2012 Betting Preview
Musings on Backing, Laying, Trading, Punting, In-Running and more on the Betting Exchanges and related items of interest in the wide world of sports investing
Who will win the NBA Finals for 2012? Can the Miami Heat put their doubters to rest or will the Oklahoma City Thunder claim their city's first NBA title? Today on the blog Cassini takes a look at the chances of both teams and what punters can expect when the series tips off this week.
After two long Conference series, with the East going 7 games, and the West 6, the NBA Finals match-up is set. The Miami Heat will play the Oklahoma City Thunder, a series that pits Miami’s MVP LeBron James against the Thunder’s All-NBA First Team star Kevin Durant. The NBA Finals begin play on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City. The finals format is different to all the other post season series, and is played in a 2-3-2 format, with the first two, and last two games if necessary, being played in Oklahoma City.
How They Got There
In the lock-out reduced 66 game regular season, the Thunder won 47 games, and the Heat won 46 games. Both records were the second best in their conferences (behind the San Antonio Spurs and the Chicago Bulls respectively).
The two teams met twice in the regular season, with the home side winning on each occasion. The first meeting was on March 25th in Oklahoma City. The Thunder won by 16 points, 103-87, with Kevin Durant the game’s top scorer with 28 points. Dwayne Wade scored 22 for the Heat, and Durant and James led each team in assists. Top rebounders were Serge Ibaka with 10 for the Thunder and Udonis Haslem with 9 for the Heat.
The second meeting was just 10 days later in Miami, with the Heat winning a close game 98-93. With 16.7 seconds remaining, the Heat led by three when Durant missed a three point shot, and the game was effectively over. There were 8 lead changes in this game, and LeBron James top scored with 34 points. Leading the Thunder was Durant with 30 points. Haslem was again top rebounder for the Heat with 8, with Ibaka grabbing 7 for the Thunder, as did Nick Collison and Kendrick Perkins. James was the assist leader with 10 and James Harden had 5 for the Thunder.
Miami defeated the New York Knicks in the first round by 4-1. The one defeat was by just 2 points, with very comfortable winning margins of 33, 17, 10 and 12.
The Indiana Pacers series was a lot tougher for Miami, who fell behind 1-2 with a 3 point and a 19 point loss in games two and three. Wins by 9, 8, 32 and 12 points finally took care of the Pacers.
It took 7 games to eliminate the Boston Celtics, with wins by 14, 4 (in OT), 19 and 13 points. Miami have lost two play-off matches at home.
The Thunder swept the 2011 NBA Champions Dallas Mavericks in the first round and lost just one game (by 3 points) to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round. Three of the four wins versus the Mavericks were by six points or less, as were two of the four wins versus the Lakers.
In the Western Finals, the Thunder lost the first two games in San Antonio, but bounced back to win the next four. 20, 6, 5 and 8 points were the margins of victory, and in the play-offs to date, the Thunder have won every home game.
Boring, But Important
Miami were in the Finals last year, losing to the Dallas Mavericks in six games, and the experience can only be of benefit to young Erik Spoelstra (41) and the Heat. The Thunder’s coach, Scott Brooks, is himself only 45, and was the NBA Coach of the year in 2010.
This is the first finals match-up in any of the major US sports between two teams, neither of whose names ends in the letter ‘S’.
The Bottom Line
Both teams have shown they can come from behind in a series, and protecting the home court will be vital. Thunder have the advantage of four games at home if the final goes that far, but with the 2-3-2 format if home court is held through five games, there will be a lot of pressure on the Thunder to win out at home.
Since the 2-3-2 format was adopted in 1985, only one team has been 1-1, lost game three, and still gone on to win, and that was the Dallas Mavericks last season.
The exchanges have the Thunder favourites at around 1.72. They have traded as low as 1.5 when it appeared Miami was going to lose to the Celtics at 2-3, but I think the Thunder are a lay at this price.
Miami can be backed at 2.9 with William Hill for the Championship, and this will be another series that goes to 6 or 7 matches. Both teams are resilient.
With Chris Bosh back from injury, (he came off the bench to score 19 points in game 7 versus Boston), LeBron James leading the way with 31 and 45 points in the last two games, and with Dwayne Wade scoring 67 over the last three games, that’s an impressive big three, in some impressive form.
And it’s a big three who don’t want to be runners-up for a second consecutive season.
You can follow Cassini on Twitter @calciocassini
And visit Cassini's blog : GreenAllOver.blogspot
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