The 2020 NBA Finals are finally here, as the Miami Heat take on the Los Angeles Lakers in the opening game of the series Wednesday, September 30.
The Heat won the Eastern Conference for the first time since 2014 when LeBron James was a key guy in Erik Spoelstra’s team. On the other side, the Lakers haven’t been in the NBA Finals since 2010 and the Kobe Bryant era.
We’re going to see some spectacular games in the next two weeks, so buckle up and get ready for the Heat versus Lakers showdown. Here’s the best betting pick for the opener along with all need-to-know betting tips and the latest odds update.
Both teams are coming at full strength which is great news for the basketball fans.
The Lakers opened as 4.5-point favorites to win Game 1. Their moneyline odds sit at -190 on DraftKings, while the Heat are +165 dogs with a total of 217.5 points. The bookies listed Los Angeles as a firm -350 fave to win the championship. Miami is a +275 out-of-towner to go all the way.
What’s at Stake?
The opening contest can set the course of the series, and both teams will be fired up to take the first blood. The Heat search for their fourth NBA championship and first since 2013, while the Lakers look for their first title since 2010 and 17th in franchise history.
The Lakers beat the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals in five games, but it wasn’t an easy series for LeBron and his teammates. On the other side, the Heat needed six games to defeat the Boston Celtics in the East.
Miami was the No. 4 seed, so the Heat certainly feel comfortable as underdogs. The Lakers were No. 1 seed in the West, and many expected them in the NBA Finals.
These two foes met each other twice in the regular season, and the Lakers beat the Heat twice, 95-80 as 8.5-point home favorites and 113-110 as 5.5-point road favorites.
The Lakers are undefeated in four straight meetings with Miami. The Heat are only 1-6 SU and 3-4 ATS in their last seven encounters with the Lakers, while the under is 14-6 in the previous 20 matchups between these two teams.
Anthony Davis dominated the Heat in both of their regular-season meetings. The Brow had 26 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in that low-scoring affair in LA while dropping 33 points on the Heat in a narrow win in Miami.
Interestingly, alongside Davis, LeBron James was the only Lakers player with 16-plus points in those two games against Miami. On the other side, the Heat had at least four players in double figures, and they will look for their role players to make the difference in this series.
I’m not saying that the Lakers are only LeBron and Davis. Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee can do a dirty job in the paint, and the Heat are pretty thin at five. Also, the Lakers can lean on Rajon Rondo to orchestrate their game, while Rondo is a good defensive stopper, too.
Still, the Heat play some excellent team defense, and Bam Adebayo should be ready to do a proper defensive job on Anthony Davis. Jimmy Butler is certainly capable of guarding LeBron James, and his defense could damage the Lakers’ game plan a lot.
Furthermore, don’t forget about Tyler Herro, as the Heat rookie averaged 19.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.8 assists off the bench through the Eastern Conference Finals while making 51.0% of his field goals.
Both Lakers and Heat love to be physical and attack the rim while playing aggressive and well-organized defense. Therefore, I expect to see a tight opener, though these two foes haven’t met each other in a while and it’s hard to precisely predict what will happen on the floor.
I think the Heat can cope with the Lakers’ dynamic duo, so I’m buying a couple of points and taking the Heat as 6.5-point underdogs at -150.
When it comes to the totals, I would follow the betting trends and bet on the under. The stake is huge, but that could lead to a lot of fouls and free-throw attempts down the stretch. My top pick remains Miami to cover a 6.5-point spread.