NBA Betting Tips: Expert NBA Analysis

Josh Lloyd from Basketball Monster will be providing expert NBA betting tips for the entire 2019/20 season.

Utilising projections from Basketball Monster, Josh will provide free NBA picks for the big NBA Games on Wednesdays and Fridays.

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LA Lakers v Miami Heat

Jimmy Butler did it again, playing 47 of 48 minutes in Game 5 to lead the Miami Heat to a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. It helped that Duncan Robinson hit seven triples and Erik Spoelstra went very shallow, taking Kelly Olynyk out of the rotation, but this was another Butler masterclass, registering a 35-point triple-double with five steals.

Now, the challenge is to force a Game 7. Before we talk about Game 6, LeBron James’ pass, while triple-teamed, out to Danny Green was the right choice. Now, you could argue whether LeBron should’ve driven as deeply as he did, but once he was in that position, finding Green that wide open was the play. Green missed, and he has been off with his shooting all season, to be honest, especially in wide-open scenarios, but it’s the right play to make.

There is some concern for the Lakers with Anthony Davis, who injured his heel toward the end of Game 6, but he insists he will be ready to play Monday. The Heat will likely be without Goran Dragić again, as he is listed doubtful. Bam Adebayo, while playing, still isn’t at the same level he was before his injury, so you have to assume that his shoulder and neck area is causing somewhat of a downturn in his production.

Bettors have pushed the Lakers down to only being a five-point favourite, after ballooning out to a 10.5 point favourite earlier in the series, and outside of the Game 1 blowout when Butler, Adebayo, and Dragić all got hurt, this series has been quite even.

The Heat have been remarkable at covering the spread in the playoffs so far, and have covered the last four games in this series, which has included two wins. I think Game 6 will be another close one and while I’m hoping the Heat can pull it out to give us Game 7, the odds are favouring the Lakers. The Lakers should get the victory, but I do think Miami can cover, so both of those seem like strong options.

BACK — Heat +5.0

LA Lakers v Miami Heat

A rough way to miss Lakers -7.5 last game, but with only one game potentially left in the NBA this season, let’s see how Game 5 could play out. It doesn’t appear that the Miami Heat will get Goran Dragić back, as he is still recovering from his plantar fascia tear, but they did welcome Bam Adebayo back in Game 4. That didn’t prevent the Heat from going down 3-1 and it’s a tough road back from here.

The Lakers put Anthony Davis onto Jimmy Butler after Butler’s Game 3 heroics and it worked a treat. Butler was limited to 22 points on 47% shooting, compared to 40 points in 70% in Game 3, although, he still was able to get others involved.

Another key in Game 4 was the Lakers converting their free throws, knocking in 86% from the line. The Lakers also went small, playing Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee just eight combined minutes, and none of those were from JaVale with Markieff Morris and Davis taking the centre minutes.

Bam should be better after scoring 15 points in 33 minutes with his neck/shoulder issue, but I doubt he is at 100% and won’t be for the rest of the series, regardless of how long it goes. You can’t write off Butler and the Heat, but this series is a good chance to end after Game 5.

It is curious, that the spread has dropped to just seven points in the Lakers favour and that does provide some interest. The Heat aren’t really a team to give up and while I think the Lakers will win and claim the championship, I can see the Heat covering here, with improvement from Adebayo.

BACK — Heat +7.0

LA Lakers v Miami Heat

Well, even without Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragić, the Miami Heat stunned the Lakers with a comfortable 11 point victory in Game 3. The market has adjusted to that, and to the fact that Adebayo has been upgraded to questionable and is likely to play, and the Lakers come in as only 7.5 point favourites this time.

Did the Heat figure out the Lakers in Game 3? I’m not sure it’s as simple as that. Yes, Bam is back, but we can’t rely on Anthony Davis playing only 33 minutes due to foul trouble, and scoring only 15 points with five rebounds in future contests. He will be better.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green, the Lakers starting wings, combined to shoot just 1-of-11 from the field, while Dwight Howard was a putrid -15 in his 15 minutes. Dwight has a better matchup when Bam plays, so I’d expect him to be more effective. The Lakers also shot just 43% from the field in Game 3, a number which surely has significant room to improve.

For Miami, they were amazing, led by Jimmy Butler dropping a 40 point triple-double on 70% shooting. They converted 51% of their shots, a number which likely drops, while relying on Kelly Olynyk to score 17 points isn’t a great strategy. It doesn’t seem like Dragić will return, so Tyler Herro will get another shot at starting. On the plus side for the Heat, Herro has not shot well yet and if he finds his range, things could be a little better.

It may seem weird to think the Lakers could be better poised in a game that Adebayo plays in, but after the Game 3 wake-up call, plus some variance swinging their way, plus the lowered spread, I can see Los Angeles covering and taking a 3-1 lead in the series.

BACK — Lakers -7.5

LA Lakers v Miami Heat

The Lakers juuusssttt covered the spread in Game 2, pulling out a 10-point victory against half a Miami Heat team, so this game presents so real challenges in terms of trying to project it out. Kelly Olynyk stepped in a big way off the bench, scoring 24 points in big minutes, while Jimmy Butler played a whopping 45 minutes to keep the Heat as close as they were.

Post-Game 2, Bam Adebayo said he would play in Game 3, but officially, he is listed as doubtful, along with Goran Dragić. I would say Dragić has very little hope of playing, whereas I’d treat Bam as closer to questionable (50/50) to play in this pivotal game.

Game 3s often go to a team that is down 2-0 in a series, especially a team that has fought as hard as Miami has and I think if Bam is out there, they pose a real threat to get the win, or at least push it close.

The Lakers keep on being powered by Anthony Davis and LeBron James, but Rajon Rondo stepped up again with a big night, scoring 16 points with 10 assists. Kentavius Caldwell-Pope has also had a strong playoffs, but he was a little down in Game 2.

Game 2 has some interesting numbers. The Heat took 26 fewer shots than the Lakers, and 20 fewer threes overall, despite hitting those long-range bombs at 41%, but doubled the Lakers up from the line, attempting 34 freebies to Los Angeles’ 17. The Heat also converted on 91% of their free throws, while the Lakers hit just 59%.

The Heat will likely drop their shooting from the field and the line, while expecting a LeBron-led team to be doubled up in free throw attempts is a fool’s wish. If those things even up, the Lakers should be able to beat the 9.5 point spread, assuming Bam Adebayo doesn’t play. If Bam is in, I think Miami is in a much better position to keep it closer.

I do expect Adebayo to play, so I’ll tentatively take the Heat +9.5

BACK — Heat +9.5

LA Lakers v Miami Heat

Well, Game 1 of the NBA Finals was definitely not competitive, with the Lakers blowing the Heat out very early on, despite being down to open the game.

To make matters worse for Miami, Goran Dragić suffered a tear to his plantar fascia, Bam Adebayo went to the locker room with a shoulder strain and never returned, while Jimmy Butler sprained his ankle again, but he was able to play in the rest of the game. Dragić could return at some point in the series, but as Bam is doubtful, Game 2 could get ugly, making the series almost as good as over.

As a result, the Lakers are 9.5-point favourites for Game 2, a decidedly larger number than the Game 1 spread, and rightfully so. Miami just couldn’t stop Anthony Davis and with no Bam, it isn’t going to be any easier with Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard filling that role.

Tyler Herro was destroyed in Game 1 as well, posting a genuinely impressive -35 in 30 minutes, while Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder didn’t fair much better.

One bright spot for Miami was Kendrick Nunn scoring well in junk time as he is going to have be a part of the rotation without Dragić, but that doesn’t make the Heat a better team.

LeBron James didn’t even need to fully exert himself in Game 1, either, which makes the rest of this series tough to swallow for Miami. Without the injuries, I would’ve expected a Miami bounce back in this one, but no Dragić and likely no Bam makes it hard to see how they can keep it within 10 points.

BACK — Lakers -9.5

LA Lakers v Miami Heat

The Lakers lost the first game in both their series against Portland and against Houston, but they came out rolling against the Nuggets, so I don’t think it would be fair to say that they consistently struggle in opening games.

But, Frank Vogel has shown an ability to adjust better than his counterpoint in most games and series so far, so it’s fair to say the Lakers may not be at the optimal level of performance in Game 1.

There aren’t any injuries to worry about on the Lakers side of things, while Miami is technically fully healthy, but had some scares recently with Bam Adebayo and his wrist, although his Game 6 performance would tell us he is all systems go.

The big question for Game 1 is how do Miami slow down LeBron James. Bam is a great option for Anthony Davis and has had success against him in the matchups this season, but Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala looming as your option for James should be a little frightening.

We’ve seen Iguodala win a Finals MVP for ‘slowing down’ LeBron in the past, but that was five years ago and Iguodala is not the same player he was, despite his shooting outburst in Game 6. Perhaps Miami tries Derrick Jones Jr., who has been in and out of the rotation for some time on LeBron or does Erik Spoelstra go back to Solomon Hill, who played the last two games against Boston and did have some success for the Pacers against LeBron in the past.

The Lakers will need to find answers for Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, obviously, but the big concern is going to be chasing around Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson.

Rajon Rondo can’t get through screens, KCP could be in trouble against these two, while Danny green is well below his best, so finding a way to neutralise the impact of these two shooters is key for the Lakers, especially considering they haven’t seen much of these guys in person.

The Lakers are five-point favourites for Game 1, which is actually a little lower than I anticipated, and I do expect the Lakers to get the win, I think it will be al little closer than this and I could see Miami sneaking a win if Herro stays hot.

BACK — Miami +5

Back before the NBA’s Bubble started, I wrote that I thought the Lakers may be the biggest beneficiaries of the new environment and the layoff. Well, here they are in the NBA Finals and overwhelming favourites to take our their 17th NBA Championship. The big surprise is who is on the other side of the matchup, with the Miami Heat advancing from the 5th seed, convincingly winning their first three matchups.

Both teams sit at 12-3 through the playoffs, which highlights the level of dominance they have shown and you could make an argument, and it would be the correct one, that the Heat’s opponents (the Pacers, Bucks, and Celtics) have been tougher than the Lakers (Blazers, Rockets, and Nuggets).

The Lakers have the best two players in this series, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but it’s not crazy to say the Heat have the next five best players in Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragić, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson. Perhaps you could even throw Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala in before you get to Danny Green or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for the Lakers. So, it’s a battle of superstars versus a well-rounded team who is playing at a high level with a top three in Erik Spoelstra.

I wrote the Heat off in the last two series and was wrong, but it’s going to be very hard to knock off the Lakers. Even though they are favoured, the Lakers are the smart money to win the NBA title. As for Finals MVP, if you think the Lakers win, it comes down to two players – LeBron and AD.

You could make the argument that Davis has outplayed LeBron at times in the playoffs and for most of the regular season, but we saw LeBron really ramp things up at the end of the Nuggets series and when things are getting serious, he is still the best basketball player in the world. I would put my money on LeBron winning another Finals MVP.

Current Results

All bets are 1 unit.

Total Units Staked: 141.00

Total Units Returned: 146.64

ROI: 3.91%

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