2012 NBA Basketball Betting: NBA Weekend Picks – NBA Finals Prediction

This is the moment the Miami Heat have been waiting for: a chance to close down the NBA Finals on their home floor. The Heat, having trailed in each of their last three playoff series and having faced elimination twice at the hands of the Boston Celtics, have powered their way past so many obstacles and snares to move within one victory of a coveted and elusive NBA title. No matter what kind of bookie software you might use, you have to concede that the Heat have showed uncommon resilience to get to this point. The best online betting sites in the nation felt that the Oklahoma City Thunder were going to win this series, and it was hard to argue with such a claim. Oklahoma City looked like an elite team when it stared down the San Antonio Spurs’ 20-game winning streak – not to mention a 2-0 series deficit – and calmly responded by winning four straight games to claim the franchise’s first-ever Western Conference championship. The Thunder were getting high-value contributions from eight players, displaying a level of depth and balance that seemed likely to overwhelm the thinner and overworked Heat. Miami received appreciably consistent contributions from six players in the first three rounds of the playoffs, and when forward Chris Bosh got knocked out of the postseason for three weeks, the Heat clearly struggled to adjust. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade carried the team through a second-round series against Indiana, and LeBron was solely responsible for lifting the team out of an elimination game on the road against Boston. It was only in Game 7 against the Celtics that Miami began to play blended basketball, but even then, only six players carried the load for the Heat in that series-clinching win. Oklahoma City seemed to be the smart sports bet  in this series, because its superstars – Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook – were being complemented by James Harden, Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, Derek Fisher, and Kendrick Perkins. The Thunder had more size, more length (albeit by a small margin), better perimeter shooting, and more speed at the point guard position. LeBron was Miami’s only pronounced advantage, lending credence to plenty of bet online reviews, which said that the young legs of the Thunder would wear down the Heat and exploit their inability to offer an imposing big man in the low post.

However, through four games, that line of analysis has not been upheld. Miami has turned the tables in this series by using a pick-and-roll offense to get Oklahoma City’s big men out of position. The Heat’s plan of attack has been superb, and head coach Erik Spoelstra has clearly outflanked the Thunder’s flummoxed head coach, Scott Brooks, who enjoyed such a terrific series in the Western Conference Finals against San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, viewed by most pundits as the best coach in the league. Miami has also received clutch shooting from Shane Battier (in the first two games of the series), James Jones, and Norris Cole, not to mention a spectacular 25-point effort from starting guard Mario Chalmers in Game 4. Fisher, Sefolosha, Ibaka, and especially Harden have been conspicuously absent from this series. Miami is getting more production from more players.

Will the Thunder extend this series to six games? Actually, they have a decent chance of doing so. Kevin Durant is due for a huge game. However, can Oklahoma City win three straight to take the series? That’s doubtful. Take Miami in six games at this point.

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NBA Basketball Betting Pick: Miami in 6 games

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About the Author

Jess Kelm is a Canadian sports betting expert and part of the famed Canadian Crew betting syndicate. Email contact@joeduffy.net

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