The 2020 NBA Finals matchup is finally set: the Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Miami Heat.
Neither team made the NBA Playoffs last season, so this matchup is rare by that standard. But if you’ve watched these teams in the bubble, you can see how they got here.
Here are the Game 1 odds for Lakers vs. Heat, which tips off at Wednesday 8 p.m. CST on ABC.
DraftKings offers big NBA Finals profit boost
DraftKings Sportsbook is offering some extra incentive to bet on the NBA Finals.
New users will receive a one-time 200% profit boost on any NBA Finals bet.
The max bet is $50, and the max payout is $500. The offer includes live bets and parlays.
It expires at the end of the NBA Finals. Game 4 is scheduled for Oct. 6, which would be the earliest the series could end.
Game 7, if necessary, would take place on Oct. 13.
Lakers vs. Heat Game 1 NBA Finals odds
Here are the odds at all five Illinois online sportsbooks:
|MIA Heat||+5, +175||+5, +172||+5, +165||+5, +175||+5, +170|
|LA Lakers||-5, -215||-5, -205||-5, -196||-5, -215||-5, -190|
The Lakers are consensus 5-point favorites, with some slight variance on the moneyline juice.
The Nuggets, who the Lakers defeated in five games, hovered around that 5.5 to six mark for most of the series. So oddsmakers (and the public) are giving the Heat a little more love than Denver, but not much more.
DraftKings and FanDuel have series prices listed. The Lakers are -400 to win the title at DraftKings and -370 to win at FanDuel Sportsbook, while the Heat are +300 at DK and +290 at FD.
Miami, despite being up 3-1 against Boston going into Game 6, was a 3-point underdog on Sunday. The Heat won 125-113.
As of Monday, 58% of Game 1 bets and 69% of money was on the Lakers at FanDuel.
How the Heat got here
The Heat have gone through the Pacers, Bucks and Celtics to make it to the NBA Finals. The Bucks series was where Miami really began to gain steam.
Erik Spoelstra‘s squad is 12-3 in the playoffs, the same record as the Lakers.
Jimmy Butler is Miami’s best player, but he hasn’t been its leading scorer in the postseason. That title belongs to Goran Dragic, who’s averaging 20.9 points per game. Butler is averaging 20.7, with Bam Adebayo not far behind at 18.5.
Adebayo is one of the best defenders in the NBA and should be Anthony Davis’ toughest matchup of the postseason. Adebayo would probably do a decent job on LeBron James, too, but the Heat have as many capable wing defenders as anyone.
Chief among them is the 36-year-old Andre Iguodala, who turned back the clocks to 2015 on Sunday and scored 15 points on five shot attempts. Butler is an ideal candidate to guard James, as is Jae Crowder.
The Heat also have more outside shooting than the Lakers in a league where that is becoming increasingly valuable. Miami essentially uses a seven-man rotation; it has five players who shoot at least 36% from 3.
Duncan Robinson leads the team in the playoffs at 40%. The Heat have been a different bunch in the bubble since going small, shifting Adebayo to center and surrounding him with shooting.
How the Lakers got here
AD and LeBron. Moving on.
Kidding, kind of. The Lakers have topped the Trail Blazers, Rockets and Nuggets, each in five games.
Each of those teams played the Lakers competitively, but LA was never in true danger of losing a series.
In these playoffs, James and Davis combine to average 55.5 points, 19.6 rebounds and 12.5 assists per game to go with stellar defense. They are two of the best five players in the NBA, and that might be selling them short.
Despite the fact that the Lakers and Heat have the same postseason record, LA has been more impressive, according to the analytics.
The Lakers have a net rating of +7.7 compared to the Heat’s +4.5 mark. That means LA has outscored its opponents by 7.7 points per 100 possessions.
Assuming James and Davis turn in their usual performances, the Lakers will need a handful of role guys to step up. Against the Nuggets, one of them was Dwight Howard, who averaged a double-double in the last two games of the series.
It will be fascinating to see how much burn he gets, considering the Heat only play one true big man.
It will be up to guys like Alex Caruso, Rajon Rondo, Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma to step up and not lose the 3-point shooting battle by too much.