Let’s take a closer look at the NBA betting lines for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, with the opening tip-off scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.
One game away
Miami is just a single win away from advancing to the NBA Finals for a third consecutive year, as it picked up a 90-79 victory over Indianapolis as 7.5-point home favorites in Game 5 Thursday, while going UNDER the betting total of 185.5.
The Heat are 11-3 straight up (SU) and 8-6 against the spread (ATS) in the 2013 NBA playoffs, with the OVER going 7-6-1 in that situation.
Pound the glass
Indiana will need to pound the glass if it plans to overcome its current 3-2 deficit in this series, as it managed to grab just six offensive boards in Game 5, which isn’t close to the 13.2 it averaged during the regular season.
The Pacers are 5-4 SU and 6-3 ATS when trailing in a series the last two-plus seasons, with the UNDER cashing in five of those nine opportunities.
Heat forward LeBron James played a masterful game Thursday, as he single-handedly outscored the Pacers 16-13 in the decisive third quarter, while he also put up 26 shots—the most for the 4-time league MVP during this year’s playoffs.
James has now tallied four 30-point performances since the regular season ended, with the team winning three of those affairs.
NBA handicappers definitely need to respect the Pacers when looking over the betting odds, considering they’ve gone 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games following a SU loss of 10 or more points.
Indiana is getting very little offensive production from its bench, which is why it’s important for forward Tyler Hansborough (questionable, ankle) to fight through an injury he suffered last time out.
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Pacers in the first half as their NBA playoff pick Saturday, as I believe their dominating front court of Paul George, Roy Hibbert and David West will feed off the crowd’s energy in the early going.
It's still important to point out that the Heat are 9-2 SU and 6-4-1 ATS when trying to close out a series since James landed in South Beach.