Reigning NBA champions Miami Heat will be hopeful of taking the lead in their Finals series against the San Antonio Spurs for the first time in Game 5 in Texas.
The Heat have been playing catch-up so far during this seven-game clash, but can earn a 3-2 advantage with a win in the AT&T Center priced at 5/6.
The Spurs will be keen to stop the Heat taking control of the series in San Antonio though with a , with the final two matches set to take place back in Miami.
Gregg Popovich’s side have attacked the current NBA champions well during the four games of this Finals series so far, destroying the Heat in Game 3 on home soil before suffering at the hands of a rejuvenated Miami who came straight back to level the scores in San Antonio.
Tony Parker’s hamstring problem will be a concern to the four-time NBA winners – who are priced at evens to beat the Heat – with the Frenchman admitting his ‘hamstring can tear any time now’ ahead of the pivotal meeting.
And Manu Ginobili is adding to the Spurs’ troubles by averaging just 7.5 points on 34.5% shooting in the series, making only three of his 16 three-point attempts.
On the other hand, Dwayne Wade’s knee didn’t look to be an issue in Game 4 as he set the tone for the Heat’s defence as well as offering 30 points at the other end.
LeBron James looked to be back in form as he struck 33 points and 11 rebounds in the last outing, with Chris Bosh breaking out with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
If Erik Spoelstra’s visitors can win again on the Spurs’ patch, they will be almost certainties to secure back-to-back titles with the remaining two matches of this Finals series to be played on their own ground.
Of the 27 times the series was tied at 2-2, the Game 5 winner went on to win 20 of them, a huge omen for whoever triumphs in this crucial encounter.
Despite only winning twice in San Antonio in their first 24 seasons, the Heat can now win in back-to-back games at the Spurs which must be the target for a side that won 27 consecutive matches during the regular season.
That was the second-longest streak in NBA history, but Miami’s worries have been stark recently with them unable to win two in a row since the opener of the Eastern Conference finals.
Meanwhile, Spurs haven’t been much more consistent, having followed their two victories in this series with error-filled defeats that total a combined deficit of 35 points.
But Spurs have never lost a Game 5 in the NBA Finals, including victories in 2003 and 2005 when the series were tied 2-2.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.