The Miami Heat have covered the number following a loss in their last eight opportunities, which could prove to be the difference when taking on the Indiana Pacers Thursday night.


Let’s take a closer look at the
NBA odds for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals at AmericanAirlines Arena, with the opening tip scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

All square

Indiana evened its best-of-seven series with Miami at two games apiece, as it picked up a 99-92 victory as three-point home underdogs in Game 4 Tuesday, while the OVER has cashed in all four contests. 

The Pacers finished with a 49-30 rebounding advantage, while they’ve outscored the Heat by a 90-72 margin in the paint in their two victories. 

NBA handicappers will find that the squad is 6-23 straight up (SU) and 10-19 against the spread (ATS) as road underdogs of 6.5 to 9 points, with the UNDER going 18-11 in that situation.

Shooting percentage

Miami entered Tuesday’s affair outshooting opponents 49.2 to 41.8 percent from the floor, but it managed to knock down just 39 percent of its shots at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Game 4. 

The Heat have averaged 105.4 points on 50.5 percent shooting at home since the start of the regular season, which will likely be the difference in trying to take a 3-2 advantage back to Indianapolis. 

Bench scoring

While sports media members have focused in on the lack of support that Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are receiving from their teammates, it’s important to point out that Indiana’s reserves are struggling as well. 

The Pacers’ bench has been outscored in 14 consecutive games—a statistic that could lead to their ultimate demise in the postseason.

Rising to the occasion 

James fouled out in the closing minutes Tuesday night, which will likely motivate him in this spot, especially since the Heat are 7-3 SUATS when tied in a playoff series since he joined Bosh and Wade in South Beach. 

Miami has covered those seven victories by an average of 5.8 points per game in that situation.

Prediction 

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Heat as their NBA picks Thursday, as the Heat are 14-3 SU and 10-7 ATS as home favorites of 6.5 to 9 points, while the Pacers are 17-21 ATS as underdogs. 

NBA Pick:  Miami Heat -7.5 at Bet365