Miami Narrow Favorites Against Pacers in Eastern Conference Finals Game 3

The Miami Heat are small 1.5-point favorites against the Indiana Pacers tonight in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. After Indiana’s 97-93 victory over the Heat on Friday, it might be time for the Heat to kick it up another gear; Miami seemingly has no answer for Indiana’s size advantage in the paint.

“It’s even. It’s 1-1,” Pacers star Paul George said. “They have the possibility of a split as well and taking home-court advantage back. So it’s even. We don’t feel like they’ve got the upper hand on us. We don’t feel like we’ve got the upper hand on them.”

“This whole team is showing great desire and great heart and great belief,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “And that’s the only way to put what these guys are doing right now, is they believe we can win this series, and they’re giving it all their might. All their might. And they’re playing with confidence and they are rising to the challenge. I’m very, very proud of them. We still have a lot of work to do. We all understand that.”

LeBron James has been sensational in this series, but his cohorts, particularly Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, have been playing far below their usual elite level. However, the Heat have the championship pedigree and experience, not to mention the best player on earth, and are still favored to prevail in the series despite the scare Indy put into them.

“We just stay even-keeled,” LeBron James said. “We don’t get too high, we don’t get too low in the series. We know we’re going to go into a hostile environment against a very good team, and we look forward to the challenge.”

As good as the Heat are, they absolutely have to get their role players, like Shane Battier and Ray Allen, more involved if they are going to win the game. The Pacers are young, fast and far too strong defensively to have an off night against them.

“We’re a growing and evolving team,” Pacers center Roy Hibbert said. “I think our defense really won us the game for us. … A lot of times teams just start buckling, and we’ve been through the wringer before. We’re young guys, but we know what we’re doing.”

“Take nothing away from their `Big Three’ and what they have going,” George said. “But we’ll take a `Big Five’ any day. And that’s what we have. We have a `Big Five’ where we have guys who can make plays and we don’t lean on one guy. It’s a team contribution and that’s how we play the game.”

I think the Heat bounce back big in Game 3 and come away with a hard-earned victory. Take Miami  at -1.5. Here are some other gambling trends for both teams heading into tonight’s game, courtesy of OddsShark.com:

Miami Heat Trends:
When playing on Sunday are 6-4
Before playing Indiana are 8-2
After playing Indiana are 6-4
After a loss are 9-1

Indiana Pacers Trends:
When playing on Sunday are 4-6
Before playing Miami are 6-4
After playing Miami are 6-4
After a win are 4-6

A few Heat at Pacers trends to consider:
Miami is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Miami is 17-2 SU in its last 19 games
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Miami’s last 8 games when playing Indiana
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Miami’s last 6 games
Indiana is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Indiana’s last 8 games when playing Miami
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Indiana’s last 9 games at home
Indiana is 19-6 SU in its last 25 games when playing at home against Miami

 

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