Chris Bosh's return inflates Heat's Game 5 spread
Chris Bosh may play third fiddle on the star-studded Miami Heat depth chart, but his team needs him more than ever after losing back-to-back games to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.
Bosh, who suffered an abdominal strain in Game 1 of Miami’s second-round series with the Indiana Pacers, is a game-time decision for Game 5 of the Eastern finals Tuesday after missing the last nine postseason contests.
UPDATE: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters in his pregame interview that Bosh won't start, but could be used in "short bursts" and in a "small role." The Heat have dropped from 8-point favorites to 7.5-point favorites about one hour before the tip.
Miami bettors are happy to get Bosh back on the floor. Since he went down, the Heat are just 4-5 against the spread. Miami went 3-5 ATS in the eight games he missed during the regular season and have an overall 9-13 ATS mark without Bosh since he joined the team in the summer of 2010.
The Heat won the first two games of the series at home but dropped both outings in Boston and are 8-point favorites with the East finals swinging back to South Beach for Game 5.
When Bosh went down in the previous round, oddsmakers estimated his value to the pointspread around 1.5 to 2 points. Jeff Stoneback, sportsbook director at the MGM Mirage, says that until they see how effective Bosh can be, and how many minutes he plays in Game 5, his worth to the spread should be around half a point.
But because of the public appeal of the Heat – and the announcement that Bosh may play – the spread opened at Miami -8, despite Boston carrying a ton of momentum into Tuesday’s contest.
“I would say it (pointspread) would have been shorter,” Stoneback told Covers, “but with Bosh coming back, you need to take it up a notch. The public is going to see that Bosh is coming back, the Heat are at full strength and they expect them to step up, coming off consecutive losses, like they did against the Pacers.”
Bosh is averaging 14.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in the postseason. More importantly, his return adds another scoring threat, freeing LeBron James and Dwyane Wade from double teams, and allows James to move back to his natural position on the perimeter, rather than filling in for Bosh inside.
“We’ll know more for the next game,” says Stoneback. “If he’s able to play big minutes and be effective than (Bosh) could be worth more (to the spread).”
The total for Game 5 is set at 179.5 points.