By Bill Speros | | 4 mins
NBA Finals Game 1 Lakers vs Heat NBACast, Betting Preview
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The Los Angeles Lakers have lasted inside the NBA Bubble at Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Florida long enough to reach the NBA Finals. They begin play for the 17th NBA title in franchise history tonight against the Miami Heat in Game 1.
The Lakers carry heavy expectations as betting favorites, the emotional weight of Kobe Bryant’s legacy and the hefty burden of LeBron James being LeBron James.
The death of Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in January was a catastrophic blow for all who loved sports. The Lakers, meanwhile, lost someone who was the living soul and embodiment of the franchise in the 21st Century. Even with a near four-month interruption in the NBA season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Lakers have remained focused on capturing another championship.
NBA Finals Game 1 Betting Odds
Here are the odds for Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Lakers are consensus 4.5-point favorites at most online books, including Resorts. The Lakers are -185 at WilliamHill on the money line, while the Heat can enrich your bank account with an upset at +250 thanks the oddsmakers at Caesars.
Those inclined to participate in NBA betting fanatics can second-screen all the action, in-game analysis and break-out stats in real time on the Bookies.com-sponsored #NBACast. It hosted by NBA experts Nate Duncan and Danny Leroux. The #NBACast offers unique insight, timely trends and — as always — Duncan and Leroux take your in-game questions during breaks in the action. Play begins at approximately 9 p.m. ET. The game will also air on ABC.
Can The Heat Fire Up An Upset?
The Heat were the No. 5 seed in the East and toppled both Milwaukee and Boston as underdogs to reach the championship round. This distended NBA season enters its 12th month Thursday. The Heat and Lakers have not faced each other since last December. Both the outside world and each team inside the Bubble have changed markedly since.
The Heat added Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala in January. Both have delivered in Miami’s run-up to the Finals. The Heat will rely on Jimmy Butler (20.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG in the playoffs), along with a deep bench and rotating cast of supporting stars such as Tyler Herro, Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo, who scored 32 points in the Heat’s clincher over Boston in the Conference Finals.
The storyline for the Lakers is much simpler – Can James get just enough out of Anthony Davis and the rest of the Lakers to secure his fourth NBA ring. James, 35, is making his 10th appearance in the Finals for this third team. The Lakers missed the playoffs last year. James spent the entire season gearing his teammates up for this opportunity. In the playoffs, he has taken charge. James is shooting 57.4% from the floor and averaging 26.7 points and 10.3 rebounds in the playoffs.
"He told us it was his time, told me it was his time and everybody just kind of got out of the way, just let him be him and he brought it home for us,” Davis said of James after he scored 16 points in the fourth quarter of LA’s Western Conference title-clinching win over Denver. “He's always capable of doing that. He makes the right plays, he makes the right reads."
Prop & Futures Bets For Lakers, Heat
In NBA futures markets, the Lakers are a substantial favorite to win this series and the championship. Los Angeles is -370 at 888sport, while the Heat should attract some attention and action sitting +550 at William Hill. The consensus favorite for number of games in series is under 6.5, which is -335 at DraftKings. The same book as has over 5.5 games at -150, under 5.5 games at +123 and over 6.5 games at +255
RELATED: Check out our NBA expert picks for Wednesday’s action and bookmark the page for our free NBA picks every day of the Finals.