Eastern Conference Finals Betting Preview: 5/20

May 20, 2014

Indiana is coming off an impressive 107-96 win over the Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, which makes basketball fans everywhere wonder what the Pacers were doing over the last two months of the regular season.  Indiana’s struggles during the latter half of the season are well documented as the Pacers compiled a disturbing 18-37-1 ATS in their last 56 games.  The technical analysis only gets worse for Indiana as we dig deeper into our proprietary database:

  • Indiana is 5-14 ATS in its last 19 home games;
  • Indiana is 7-20 ATS in its last 27 games following a win;
  • Indiana is 8-27 ATS in its last 35 games with one day of rest;
  • Indiana is 2-9 ATS in its last 11 home games vs. an opponent with a winning road record;
  • Indiana is 3-15 in its last 18 games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game

Sunday’s dominating win over Miami has not change the Pacers’ mindset as they understand that it is just one game.  “There’s nothing to celebrate,” George Hill said.  “It’s not like we won a championship.  It’s one game.  Yes, it’s good but if we come out and lay an egg on Tuesday, this game doesn’t mean anything.”  Hill also understands that protecting Indiana’s home court is paramount when facing Lebron James & Co.  “We know we’re playing against the champions, the two-time champions,” George said.  “We know they’re going to come out and make adjustments. Everything we did Sunday has got to be that much more in Game 2 in order for us to move on.”

Meanwhile, Miami has not lost back-to-back playoff games since the 2012 conference finals against the Celtics, a period covering 39 postseason games.  And, the Heat fully understand what adjustments need to be made, beginning with Lebron James being more aggressive.  “My approach is the same every game, try to put pressure on the defense, try to get to the free-throw line to help us win,” James said.  “I got to the rim, I got my shots going, but I’ve got to do a little more, too.”  Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra also touched upon the urgency of tonight’s game in Indiana.  “We don’t really care about what’s happened in the past,” Spoelstra said.  “We understand the urgency of a response for tomorrow night.”

From a fundamental standpoint, Miami is 1.6 points per game better than average offensively (101.9 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 100.3 points per game) and 2.7 points per game better than average defensively (97.0 points per game to teams that combine to average 99.7 points per game).  Interestingly, Miami had success exploiting the Pacers’ outstanding defense in Game 1, averaging 104 points per 100 possessions, which was well above the 97 Indiana allowed in the regular season).  With that said, Indiana’s subpar offense (4.7 points per game worse than average) erupted for 107 points against a solid Miami stop unit.  However those results were the product of positive variance as the Pacers shot 51.5% from the field and went to the free throw line 37 times (home cooking?).

Pro Edge Sports Pick: Miami Heat (ML) (-140)