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The Heat are historic Game 1 faves vs. Celtics

Maybe Rajon Rondo knows something oddsmakers don’t.

Shortly after dispelling the Philadelphia 76ers in a surprisingly competitive seven-game series, the Boston Celtics star point guard was asked about his team’s next opponent, the Miami Heat.

“We feel we can beat Miami,” Rondo told Comcast SportsNet. “Obviously we got to this point. There’s no doubt in my mind that we can, so we’ve got to go down there [Miami] and take care of business.”

Oddsmakers aren’t quite as bullish on the C’s chances against LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Miami is an 8-point favorite in Game 1 against Boston. That’s the second largest spread in Game 1 of an NBA conference final since 1997. Update: The line has been bet up to 8.5 at several books.


PinnacleSports.com opened its series price at -500/+420 while bet365.com went a tad higher with the Heat as -550 faves. And that’s not even really the true price, mathematically speaking.

“We just sent out the Heat -8 on the first game,” Pete Korner, founder of the line consultant group Sports Club, told Covers in an email, “so that translated into a Miami -800/+550 for a series price. Now again, that's strictly by the math.”

I won’t get into it here but there’s a formula that makes up a series price based off the odds for Game 1 of a series. If the Heat were -800 faves that would mean the Celtics would have just a one-in-nine chance of upsetting Miami.

“It's certainly high," Covers Expert Ted Sevransky said of the series price. "That being said, all [the books] are looking to do is draw two-way action, and they're not going to do that unless the Celtics are 4/1 or higher."

Pro handicapper and database guru Marc Lawrence says there have been 10 instances since 1991 where a favorite has given 7 or more points in Game 1 of an NBA conference final (see above chart). Those favored teams went 9-1 straight up and 7-3 against the spread.

Last note: The only team of those 10 to lose outright was the 2009 Cleveland Cavaliers, who were led by, that’s right, LeBron James. The Cavs were -600 series chalk but lost to the Orlando Magic in six games.

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Posted by sfpokerpro
2 years ago

Both the C's and the Heat tend to not show up in stretches early in series. I don't think the C's will take anything for granted however in this series. I think they cover tonight!
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Posted by ibwaterman
2 years ago

Lebron and Dwyane are better than the Celtics top two players, but I wouldn't say overall that the Heat are clearly the much better team. They lost twice in six games to the Pacers. Look at what OKC and the Spurs have done in comparison. 8 is a lot of points to give up.
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Posted by alhedwig
2 years ago

I noticed on the chart that the Lakers failed to cover the spread in 2008...shocking
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Posted by begginersluck
2 years ago

heat will cover. vegas is begging for boston money
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Posted by MoneyInTheBag
2 years ago

I think +8 is too high for a team that has gone the better of the two in the season meetings especially with Bosh out of the picture.
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Posted by theclaw
2 years ago

There's 2 games on the above list which fit a indentical situation with Heat/Celtics game. 91 Bulls and 97 Jazz, 2 teams just coming into their prime, against past champions who were no longer as good as they once were when winning the title. Does that sound perfectly like the Heat/Celtics or what ??? Both teams opened with 2-0 leads Jazz winning by 15 and 12 pts and the Bulls winning by 11 and 8. So if you think 8 is to high, it does not appear to be the case here. Don't judge teams like the Pistons, Rockets or Celtics by what they did yesterday, judge them by what they are doing today, and today the Heat are clearly the much better team.
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Posted by usmail
2 years ago

DON'T NEED TO KNOW THE ODDS IN THE PAST. BEFORE THE GAME START THE CHANCE FOR W/L IS 50/50. I GET MORE CONFUSE AFTER I READ IT.
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Top Response

Posted by usmail
2 years ago

"DON'T NEED TO KNOW THE ODDS IN THE PAST. BEFORE THE GAME START THE CHANCE FOR W/L IS 50/50. I GET MORE CONFUSE AFTER I READ IT."