Heat (+100) vs. Spurs (-120)
These NBA Odds are courtesy of Bodog, and even though the Heat come in as the defending champions, I get the sense that things have changed some from last year to this. Sure the Spurs are a year older and still a little fragile with Tony Parker’s injury, but the Heat aren’t the same team we saw rally off 27 straight wins a season ago. That being said, between the two of them if the Spurs are the team that has improved from last season, it would seem likely that they are undervalued in the NBA Odds this year.
Even last year when they had a banged up Manu Ginobli, and no Patty Mills or Marco Belinelli, the Spurs had that series won multiple times. They were up 2-1 heading into two straight home games, and of course they were up 3-2 and the rope was coming onto the court in Game 6 before disaster struck. This season with a deeper roster, you’d think the Spurs would have an even bigger advantage.
However the health of Tony Parker is the one thing keeping Spurs bulls like myself from making a heavy wager. Parker hurt his ankle early in the OKC series and it has apparently gotten progressively worse. He could not play in the second half of the closeout Game 6 for the Spurs, and even though it has been reported that he will play in Game 1 of the Finals, you still have to wonder about his true health percentage.
We have seen this once from Parker in these very playoffs before. Parker injured his hamstring in the final game of the Portland series and had to sit out the entire second half. Both that time and this time he has had exactly four full days of rest before having to play in Game 1, and with that much time, I expect him to be ok. He might not be 100%, however with that amount of time, even the 32 year-old Parker can get his ankle ready to play in the NBA Finals.
The Sharp Pick
I’m just assuming the Spurs aren’t going to blow this series if they get a lead again, and with the Heat devoid of some of the three point shooting they had from last year’s Finals, I see the Spurs coming out on top in this matchup. They have home court advantage this time around, and as long as Parker is ready to play, they are healthier than they were last season.
I expect Kawhi Leonard to play defense better than Paul George did on Lebron James in the Eastern Conference Finals, and if you remember from last season, Tim Duncan absolutely crushed Chris Bosh for averages of 19 points and 12 rebounds per game. Danny Green’s defense has improved to go against Dwyane Wade, and with a plethora of other scoring options in his arsenal, I think Gregg Popovich has been scheming for the last year for ways to beat this team with his new team. The Spurs showed after last series that they can best teams with only a few main scoring options, and I see San Antonio getting one last title this season because of it.
My Pick: Spurs (-120)