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Lakers Open as 5-Point Favorites Over Heat in Game 1 of 2020 NBA Finals

LeBron Jimmy Butler
LeBron James and the Lakers will take on Jimmy Butler & the Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals. Photo from @ArashMarkazi (Twitter)
  • The Los Angeles Lakers have opened as 5-point favorites in Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals vs the Miami Heat on Wednesday night
  • Miami defeated the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the ECF on Sunday night while the Lakers advanced by beating Denver in Game 5 of the WCF on Saturday
  • See the opening spread, moneyline odds and total for Game 1 below

With the Miami Heat’s win over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday night, the franchise returns to the NBA Finals for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

Now, waiting for Miami on Wednesday in Game 1 of the NBA Finals is Anthony Davis, LeBron James and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers, who closed out their series against the Denver Nuggets in five games.

Wednesday’s game is set to tip off at 9:00pm EST on ABC, and the Lakers have opened as 5-point favorites.

Heat vs Lakers Game 1 NBA Finals Opening Odds

Team Odds Moneyline Total
Miami Heat +5 (-110) +175 O 218 (-110)
Los Angeles Lakers -5 (-110) -205 U 218 (-110)

Odds taken September 27th

Boston had done a good job adjusting and making things competitive as it lengthened the series in Orlando, but Miami proved the tougher team and hit its three-pointers to come out on top.

Now, with the Finals set to begin on Wednesday, do the Heat bring enough to the table to top one of its own former superstars and the rest of the Lakers?

Lakers Beat Heat Twice During Regular Season

Los Angeles is 2-0 against Miami this season, and unsurprisingly, Davis and James led the charge for the Lakers in both games.

As the series with Boston went on, the Celtics increasingly found the space and gaps in Miami’s zone defense, and the Heat were gradually exposed more frequently in front of the rim and along the baseline.

Miami has shortened its rotation in the playoffs and has been relying heavily on Bam Adebayo as its primary frontcourt presence, but for all the contributions that Miami has received from Andre Iguodala and Jimmy Butler, the length, versatility and size of Davis and James will naturally create matchup problems.

Offensively, if Miami can’t bait the Lakers into collapsing on Adebayo down low, it’s going to be much tougher for shooters like Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro to get the kind of open looks they need to get cooking from distance.

Line Movement Before Wednesday

The public should be all over Los Angeles early, as they were favorites vs any opponent as early as last week.

Recency bias may keep the line from expanding as Miami looked very good down the stretch in Game 6, but when a player like James shows up in the Finals leading one of the most popular teams in the league, bet slips will follow.

Coming off of a series against a tough Celtics team, the Heat don’t seem obvious candidates for an upset in Game 1.

The last time these two teams played, the Lakers barely escaped with a three-point win and Miami’s rotation has changed pretty significantly since then.

The Heat are among the lowest-ranked teams in terms of pace of play this season, and playing modified “small-ball” against a team with a rebounding advantage in the frontcourt like the Lakers could be problematic if they aren’t as sharp from the three-point line as they were Sunday night.

Pick: Lakers -5 (-110)

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