|-7 LAL (-110) @ bet365|
10* Big Ticket: Take the LA Lakers (#710)
I’ll give Miami a world of credit – they’ve fought the good fight since their Game 1 blowout loss left their top three players all battling injuries. But the Lakers are the better of these two teams, and they’ve figured out how to solve the Heat defensively. Jimmy Butler made his first five shots in the first quarter on Tuesday. With NBA Defensive Player of the Year runner-up Anthony Davis defending him, Butler made a grand total of three shots in the final three quarters of that ballgame. Tyler Herro had another explosive night off the bench for Miami, pouring in 21 points including a three pointer with 1.1 seconds left to cover the spread. Herro, too, cannot be expected to do any more than he did in Game 4 – it matched his second highest point total of the postseason. Bam Adebayo wasn’t at 100% nor will he be here; a triple double threat when healthy, Adebayo dished only one assist in the Game 4 loss. These are offensive problems that aren’t going to go away for Miami, now that Frank Vogel has made the needed adjustments on defense.
Since their 10-1 SU and ATS start to the playoffs, the Heat are just 3-5 SU in their last eight games. Four of those five losses came by double digit margins; the fifth would have come by nine points if Herro hadn’t drained that three on Tuesday. It’s worth noting that if LA is up 9 tonight and Miami has the ball with two seconds left, I’m not expecting anyone to launch from downtown – it’ll be ‘shake hands and go home’ time. And when Miami doesn’t win SU, they’re losing by margin, with the exception of Tuesday Night. With three straight covers in the series since their Game 1 loss, the Heat’s betting bandwagon just keeps on growing, giving us a relatively cheap pointspread to lay here in what should be LA’s closeout game.
The extra day between games is a benefit for LA. Their veteran trio of Lebron, AD and Rajon Rondo should be relatively fresh tonight. They’ve had time to lock in and focus on the task at hand – 48 minutes to win a title, and then everybody gets to go home for the first time in months. Every quote from the Lakers locker room has been about focus and determination – this isn’t a distracted team, and they’ve been nothing short of outstanding at closing out foes when given the opportunity. The Lakers closed out Portland in Game 5 with a nine point win. They closed out Houston in Game 5 with a 23 point win. And they closed out Denver in Game 5 with a ten point victory (and cover). Expect more of the same in what I expect will be the final game of the 2020 campaign. Chalk worth laying! Big Ticket: Take the LA Lakers.