For sports fans the world over, all eyes will be intensely focused on the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida where the Heat will be hosting the Indiana Pacers in an Eastern Conference finals Game 7 NBA Playoffs battle. With a finals matchup against the San Antonio Spurs awaiting the winner, this is a classic win-or-go-home battle.
The Heat opened as a 7.5-point favorite at the market-setting Pinnacle sportsbook and, according to our NBA Playoffs betting trends, they are currently receiving just 38% of spread bets. With a majority of bettors taking Indiana, public money has moved the line to -7 across the sports betting marketplace.
This will mark the 27th time in Miami’s “Big Three” Era that the team has received less than 50% of spread bets for a playoff game. According to our BetLabs software, the Heat have performed tremendously when the public is doubting them, posting a 17-9 against the spread (ATS) record in such games.
It’s also interesting to note that Miami fits a system we highlighted in our 2013 NBA Playoff Betting Preview. Since 2004, all home favorites have gone 278-247 with +17.97 units won and a return of investment (ROI) of 3.4%. When we add our contrarian philosophy to this simple filter and examine home favorites receiving less than 40% of spread bets, we uncover a record of 65-41 with +20.5 units won and an impressive 19.3% ROI.
Although Miami does fit this historically profitable betting system, right now we have not seen any sharp action on the spread as public money has been responsible for the half-point of line movement. However, there does seem to be some sharp money coming in on the under tonight. The total for tonight’s Game 7 NBA Playoffs contest opened at 181 and, at the time of publication, 67% of bettors were taking the over. Despite this one-sided action the total has actually dropped to 180. This reverse line movement is an excellent indicator that sharp money has come in on the under.
For those interested, the following head-to-head summary is available on our matchups page which can be easily accessed by clicking the information (i) tab on our live odds page.
As you can see, the Pacers have gone 6-3 ATS against the Heat this season despite the fact that they have not once been favored. It’s also noteworthy that tonight’s over/under of 180 would be the lowest total of the series in what could be a slower and more carefully played game.
Furthermore, it’s worth examining the moneyline for bettors who are worried about who will win the game straight up. Miami is a -360 moneyline favorite for tonight and a -140 favorite to win the championship. Indiana is a +300 dog tonight, and the long-shot to win the title at +800 (via sportsbook.com).
Lastly, it’s worth noting that the three officials for tonight’s Game 7 NBA Playoffs matchup seem to favor visitors historically. In games refereed by Scott Foster, road teams have gone 204-160 ATS. Likewise, visitors have gone 179-158 in games officiated by Mike Callahan and 176-163 with Ken Mauer on the sidelines.
Who do you think is going to win tonight’s epic Game 7 NBA playoffs matchup? Can the Pacers knock off the Heat — or can they at least keep it close and cover the spread? Please leave your thoughts and comments in the section below.