The Los Angeles Lakers will be returning to the NBA Finals for the first time in 10 years when they take on the Miami Heat on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series as 5-point favourites on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Los Angeles has enjoyed a dominating postseason run that leaves the team listed as heavy -350 chalk on the NBA championship odds going into Wednesday night's matchup at AdventHealth Arena.
After struggling upon their arrival in the NBA bubble, going 3-5 straight up in eight seeding games, the Lakers caught fire in the playoffs. Los Angeles has claimed victory in five games in each of its three series in this year's playoffs, knocking off Portland, Houston and Denver, and is listed as a +285 wager to dispose of Miami in five games in the NBA Finals.
But after opening the playoffs on a solid 7-3 against the spread run, the Lakers struggled to reward bettors during the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers posted against the spread wins in just two of five games in that series, all while set as betting favourites. Los Angeles has also emerged as a shaky wager when favoured by five or fewer points, going a middling 8-7 SU and 6-9 ATS in its past 15 such contests, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.
The Heat will make their first appearance in the NBA Finals since James' departure from South Florida in 2014, set as +275 series underdogs at online betting sites. Miami has emerged as the biggest surprise of the NBA season during an impressive playoff drive that followed an ordinary finish to the regular season. Miami stumbled to a 20-20 SU record over its final 40 regular season contests, including a 3-5 SU mark in eight seeding contests inside the bubble. However, the Heat have been spectacular in playoff action, suffering just three losses while recording impressive series victories over Indiana, Milwaukee and Boston.
Miami has embraced the role of underdog so far in the postseason, going 7-3 SU and ATS while sporting positive odds, including each of the team's four victories over the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat also sport an impressive 8-6 SU record in 14 outings since March 1 while listed as underdogs of five or fewer points.
However, the Heat have work to do as they look toward their first-ever playoff meeting with Los Angeles. Miami has lost outright in seven of its last nine meetings with the Lakers, scoring an average of just 96.8 points in their past five matchups.