Behind 30 points and an all-round bravura performance from LeBron James, Miami took the initiative in the series on Thursday and now head to Indiana for Game 6 with a 3-2 lead. Eric Spoelstra’s men are 10/13 to win outright.
The Pacers did well in suppressing the majority of the Heat’s roster on Thursday night, and have cause for optimism on their return to homecourt. The Heat’s second-leading scorer Dwayne Wade has now been held to under 20 points in 11 straight games, and were it not for James’ virtuoso third quarter efforts Indiana could be looking to wrap up the series here.
The Pacers have welcomed Miami to the Bankers Life Fieldhouse on four occasions this season, winning three. In those wins, Miami were held to an average of 86 points – well below their regular season average of 102.9.
Indiana are 11/10 to win outright, good value for a side which has lost just one of its eight playoff games at home this postseason.
However, should the swing of momentum prove irreversible, and Miami go on to a 4-2 series win, it would be inconceivable to imagine the Pacers going down without a fight.
The first two matches were separated by a total of just five points, but since then the games have been won by convincing margins, all substantially larger than the stated line of +/-2 here – a line that would only have altered one outcome so far (Game 1).
Of the first five games, three have been decided by seven points or less, and with Indiana now in need of a win to force Game 7, a Pacers win on a line of +7 at 10/23 should find much support.
Should one find the case for a Pacers win unconvincing, and fully expect the Heat to pick up where they left off on Thursday, then it is worth noting that Miami’s last two wins have come by margins of 18 and 11 points respectively. A Miami win on a line of -7 is on offer at 33/20, which should attract plenty of interest.
Indiana’s home form points to a series tied at three apiece; the task will become substantially easier if they can keep LeBron James quiet.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing