|5 MIA (-109) @ Draftkings|
8* Take Miami (#701)
LeBron James has faced off against Jimmy Butler 34 times in his NBA career. Lebron’s teams have won 17 of those games, Butler’s teams have won 17 as well. LeBron has played for ten teams that have reached the finals before. Butler spent 8 ½ of his ten year career prior to this season languishing on miserable teams in Chicago and Minnesota. And yet they’re 50:50 in matchups against one another.
Jimmy Butler’s quote speaks volumes about Miami not being intimidated in this matchup: “It’s been like this for a very long time. If you want to win (the title), you’ll have to go through a LeBron James led team…..that’s what it normally comes down to. You’re going to get the same test over & over until you pass it. That test is LeBron James.”
Miami has won and covered all three previous Game 1’s in this playoff run; two of those wins coming as underdogs. The Lakers have failed to win as favorites twice in three previous Game 1’s; the lone exception coming against an exhausted Denver squad off back-2-back seven game series. With three or more days rest coming into a game, the Heat have gone 10-1 SU, 9—2 ATS, in sharp contrast to LA’s 3-4 SU, 2-5 record in this role.
The Heat are 7-3 ATS as underdogs since the start of the postseason. They’ve got star power to match up with LA, and their role players are every bit as good (and consistent) if not better than Frank Vogel’s bench players. Miami’s defensive acumen is better than anything LA has seen here in the postseason (all three of LA’s playoff opponents finished outside the top half of the NBA defensively in the bubble. Expect a competitive, down-to-the-wire affair, and don’t be shocked in the slightest if somebody wins this game on a buzzer beating bucket. Too many points! Take the Heat.