The Lakers are one step away from winning an NBA title with a win today. Miami will not roll over and hand the title to Los Angeles so we should expect a tough battle. Let’s take a closer look at this matchup to see if we can find some value that we can parlay at top sportsbooks.
Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Friday, October 9, 2020 – 9:00 PM EDT at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Do or Die Time for Miami
Even though the Heat has their backs against the wall, they seem like the type of team that is comfortable with adversity. Clearly having to win the next three games in a row is not where they would like to be. However, that's where Miami finds themselves and we should expect nothing less than a dog fight in this game.
I say that because realistically, the Heat have been competitive in the last two games despite being short-handed. After they were crushed in Game 2, many people assumed they would get swept, and rightly so. They looked defeated, and with 40% of their starting lineup missing, they were always going to be fighting an uphill battle.
Not only do the Heat players deserve our respect for the way they've hung in there with Los Angeles, so does coach Erik Spoelstra, who was quick to recognize that his zone works against everyone except LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He showed us just how talented of a coach he is by coming up with a different defensive plan that resulted in a Game 3 win and Game 4 going down to the final minutes before the Lakers pulled away.
On the SBR odds page, this line opened up somewhere between -7 and -7.5 for the Lakers, depending on where you shop. It's not hard to see why there is still money coming in on Miami. They've shown enough in these last two games to make their fans think they can hang around. Although they were extremely lucky to cover on that last second Tyler Herro three-point shot. It was meaningless to the outcome of the game but busted a ton of Lakers tickets.
Under Has Value in This Spot
Until the last game of the series, we'd seen more overs than expected, but I'm going with the under early in this spot. I'm taking the Under 55.5 in the first quarter because I think that the moment will get to some of these players. Only LeBron James, Danny Green, and Rajon Rondo have real NBA Finals experience, and playing in a game that will decide who wins the championship is bound to bring out the nerves in some of these players.
The Lakers are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, and that will be the key to them securing their title. The Heat, meanwhile, is at their best playing at one of the slowest paces in the league. I expect them to be especially good in transition today, not giving up any easy opportunities that could see the Lakers get going. This will be a half-court drag 'em out battle, but I'm picking the Under in the first half. I think the moment will simply be too big for some of these guys.
I'm riding with the desperate team early and parlaying it with the Under here. I don't like the price of the +3 at -120, but I do believe the Heat comes out scrappy and tries to set the tone. I don't see how Miami goes down early and fight back. If they let the Lakers get out in front, the Heat will not be able to slow them down once they see the light at the end of the tunnel.