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Odds and Ends

NBA Finals spreads have been a rollercoaster

by Sam Panayotovich
Updated On: October 6, 2020, 10:24 am ET

Just when you thought the Miami Heat were out, they pull you back in. 

Miami upset the Los Angeles Lakers 115-104 as a 9.5-point underdog in Game 3 of the NBA Finals to make the series 2-1 L.A. Jimmy Butler tied up the Superman cape and exploded to the tune of 40 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists, two steals and two blocks. The Heat star shot a very efficient 14-of-20 from the floor and went 12-for-14 from the charity stripe.

It was a heroic effort for a desperate team that clearly isn't ready to go home yet. And just like that, our Heat +2.5 games series bet is back alive. We need one more win to cash that ticket and to be honest, I'm surprised the bet still has a chance.

"I've been saying all along that the Lakers can't shoot the basketball," one Vegas bookmaker told NBC Sports. "In an era where the three-point shot has never been more important, they missed 28 threes in a Finals game. And a lot of those looks are wide open." 

The point spread in this series has been an absolute rollercoaster ride for bookmakers.

Los Angeles opened -5 for Game 1 and that line actually got bet down to -4.5 by tip. After a good old fashion whoopin' by LeBron James and Anthony Davis – parlayed with the injuries to Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic – the spread ballooned to Lakers -10 or -10.5 for Game 2. Miami took some money in Game 3, so that spread closed at Lakers -9.5. And with the news that Adebayo (neck strain) has been upgraded to questionable, we'll have another new spread for Game 4. 

"We're currently at Lakers -7.5 and 219 and that's with the expectation that Bam is going to play," the bookmaker stated. "We'll monitor it closely, but he's been getting plenty of treatment and we believe he's going to give it a go." 

My heart says Miami has the shooting and mental toughness to keep it close. My head knows LeBron is usually a freight train after a bad loss and that he only gets stronger as a series treks along. And my wallet just wants the underdog to win one more game outright. 

Talk about being pulled in three different directions. 

Sam Panayotovich

Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst from the South Side of Chicago. He'll probably pick against your favorite team a lot. Follow him @spshoot