Tuesday NBA Finals Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Miami Heat Game 4 (Oct. 6)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers against the Miami Heat during Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
- After cruising through the first two games of the NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers finally came back to Earth against the Miami Heat.
- Are the Lakers in trouble, or should you bet them to cover another near double-digit spread?
- Matt LaMarca gives his full game preview, including his betting picks for Game 4 and the series.
Lakers vs. Heat Game 4 Betting Odds
|Lakers Odds||-7.5 [BET NOW]|
|Heat Odds||+7.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-325/+275 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||218.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
The Miami Heat have zero quit in them. They fell in an 0-2 series hole against. the Los Angeles Lakers and were playing without two of their best players in Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic. They were roughly 10-point underdogs and Game 3, and most people were expecting the Lakers to finish off this series in just four games.
It would’ve been easy for this team to just fold up shop and go home, but Jimmy Butler just wouldn’t allow that to happen. He put together one of the most impressive performance in the history of the NBA finals, scoring 40 points with 11 rebounds and 13 assists to ultimately propel them to victory.
With the series now sitting at 2-1, the big question is can the Heat do it again? Let’s break down Game 4 to try and identify some potential betting value.
Butler’s performance has obviously gotten most of the attention for the Heat following Game 3. Not only was he the best player on the court in a series that also features LeBron James and Anthony Davis, he put together the kind of game that legends are made from:
Correction: @bball_ref says that Jimmy’s Game Score is no. 2 *since 1984,* the first year they can calculate it in their database, rather than ever. Still: pretty good! https://t.co/BxYE36nxRr https://t.co/LOou2lgTb5
— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) October 5, 2020
That said, Game 3 was clearly an outlier. Butler has put together some gritty performances during the postseason, but no one is going to confuse him with an efficient scorer. He shot 70% from the field in Game 3 after shooting just 45.5% during the regular season, so that kind of efficiency is not sustainable moving forward.
Luckily, Butler might get some help in this contest. Adebayo has been upgraded to questionable for Game 4, per our Labs NBA Insider tool and his return would be a huge boost for the Heat. He was arguably their best player during their run though the Eastern Conference playoffs, averaging 17.8 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game.
Adebayo was also Miami’s best rim protector during the regular season and one of the best defensive big men in the league. He ranked second among power forwards in ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus/Minus, and he’s their best chance of slowing down Davis in Game 4.
Davis is coming off a dreadful performance in his last game, but he has still feasted on some of the other defenders for the Heat in this series. According to NBA Advanced stats, Davis is shooting 50% with Jae Crowder as his primary defender, 66.7% against Kelly Olynyk, and 57.1% against Andre Iguodala.
Butler should also get some additional help from his perimeter shooters in this contest. The Heat finished with the second-best shooting accuracy from behind the 3-point line during the regular season despite also ranking seventh in 3-point frequency (per Cleaning the Glass).
Most of that comes from guys like Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro, who both shot at least 38.9% from 3-point range during the regular season. Those guys combined to shoot just 5-of-17 from behind the arc in Game 3, so they could be due for some positive regression.
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The Lakers have basically rolled through these playoffs, winning each of their first three series in just five games. That said, even they are prone to a let down game from time to time. It’s only natural for a team with a 2-0 lead to take their foot off the gas a little bit, even on the biggest possible stage.
I wouldn’t expect a repeat performance today.
Davis in particular should play significantly better than he did in Game 3. He scored just 15 points in that contest after scoring at least 32 in each of the first two games. It’s not like he had a rough shooting night either: He shot 66.7% from the field but attempted just nine field goals. He should come out much more aggressive tonight.
The Lakers should also look to be more aggressive in transition in Game 4. That has been the heart of their offense throughout the postseason, and that continued in the first two games of this series. They added +6.1 points per 100 possessions in Game 1 and +1.1 points per 100 possessions in Game 2 through their transition play, but that number dropped to -1.4 in Game 3.
They continued to push the ball in that contest — 12.1% of their offensive play types were classified as transition opportunities — but they averaged just 90.9 points per 100 possessions in those situations. The Lakers have posted an Offensive Efficiency of 115.0 points per 100 possessions in transition during the postseason, so they should be much more efficient in that area moving forward.
The Lakers also seem due for some 3-point shooting progression in this contest. They shot just 33.3% from 3-point range in Game 3, which ranked in just the 29th percentile per Cleaning the Glass.
They finished in the ninth percentile for non-corner 3s in particular, and while the Lakers’ aren’t an elite shooting team like the Heat, they are clearly capable of putting up better numbers than that.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The Lakers are clearly the superior team in this series, and this seems like an excellent time to buy low on them.
They are due for some progression in this contest, specifically from Davis and in transition, while the Heat seem due for some regression. Miami shot 76.5% at the rim, 66.7% from the short midrange, and 42.9% on non-corner 3s, all of which ranked in the 85th percentile or higher for shooting accuracy.
Additionally, we are getting some spread value with the Lakers. The line in Game 3 closed at around 10.5, but the Lakers are currently favored by just 7.5. Part of them stems from the potential return of Adebayo, but we’re still not sure if he will play or how effective he will actually be.
But perhaps most importantly, James wasn’t the best player on the court in Game 3 for quite possibly the first time in a very long time. What are the odds that happens again? Expect him to be fully motivated and ready to remind everyone that his nickname is “King James” for a reason.
With that in mind, I’m also looking to grab LeBron to win the Finals MVP at just -225 on DraftKings Sportsbook. Davis basically took himself out of the running with his performance in Game 3, so it seems like LeBron should win this award if the Lakers can win the series. They are still massive favorites to get that done – they’re listed at -1667 on the series line – so this price on LeBron seems too low.
The Pick: Lakers -7.5 (-110) | LeBron James to win Finals MVP (-225)