After sneaking out of Miami with a clutch victory on Tuesday night, the Indiana Pacers head back home for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal showdown with the Miami Heat, with confidence rising and a chance to take a surprising lead in the best-of-seven series against the top team in Eastern Conference regular season play. For this exciting and crucial Game 3 match-up, with tip-off set for 7:00 PM Eastern Time at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, make sure to jump into the action with a wager or two at one of the best online sportsbooks reviewed here.
After Game 2′s exciting finish, which saw the Indiana Pacers hold on to a 78-75 victory and simultaneously end Miami’s home-court advantage for the series, Game 3 looks to feature more of the same type of play; tough, hounding defense, slow-paced offense, and lots of physical play all around the court. What was truly unique in the Pacers’ low-scoring win on Tuesday was the fact that they completely dominated the Heat on defense, allowing only LeBron James and Dwayne Wade to score more than 5 points. That is not a typo folks. Aside from King James’ 28 points, and Dwayne Wade’s 24, the entire Miami Heat team was held to just 23 points in total, with the team as a whole shooting just %34.6 from the field, and going 1-for-16 from 3-point range.
While Indiana also didn’t have a great shooting night (%37.8, 3-for-15 from 3-point land), they managed to spread the score wealth around, with 4 starters scoring in double figures, and dominated the rebounding game with a 50:40 ratio. While it certainly wasn’t a pretty way to play basketball, the Pacers game plan shouldn’t be changing much with their return to home court, as its’ plainly evident that Miami struggles when it’s unable to play an up-tempo style and forced to operate in half-court offense. A huge advantage once again for Indiana tonight is their size and presence in the paint, which is benefitted by the absence of Miami’s Chris Bosh, the only real scoring threat the Heat have under the basket. The Pacers key to the game is to once again contain Dwayne Wade and LeBron James as best as possible, but focus on preventing any of the Miami big men from having a stand-up offensive evening around the basket. Though Miami was able to match Indiana on points in the paint in Game 2 (38 apiece), only 7 points were contributed by centers’ Joel Anthony, Ronny Turiaf and Udonis Haslem, which doesn’t bode well for Miami having a balanced offensive attack against a Pacers team that can stay fresh inside by rotating big bodies in from the bench. With 3 Pacers players in double figures for rebounding on Tuesday, a similar night of production for Roy Hibbert, David West and Paul George will once again help to keep Miami from second chances, which they’ll need considering the missing production from Chris Bosh once again.
With Indiana looking as if they have a clear advantage inside the paint heading into Game 3, Miami’s game plan has to center on getting more production from unfamiliar sources around the perimeter and in the mid-range shooting game, as attacking the basket may be even harder to come by with the Pacers strong on home court in the paint. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, while easily able to provide 25+ points apiece for the Heat, cannot be expected to supply %75 of the scoring load once again and get a win out of it. A big problem for Miami, and one that needs to be addressed, is how to get more of the peripheral players good, open shots, to help balance out the offense and take defensive pressure off their two stars. Wade and James accounted for 44 of the Heat’s 78 shots, and only one other player, Mario Chalmers, hit double digit in attempts. It’s interesting to note here though that if Chalmers had hit just one of his 4 3-point attempts, and/or should anywhere near his season mark of %44.8 percent from the floor (he was 2-for-10 on Tuesday night), the Heat could have pushed overtime, if not won outright before the final buzzer. There were at least two great opportunities in the dying seconds of Game 2 for Miami to pull even, and Chalmers’ failed last-ditch 3-point attempt may have been the difference between a commanding 2-0 lead in the series, and a reset to zero heading to Indiana. Though that’s all in the past now, it’s clearly evident that without someone standing up for Miami, who isn’t wearing a #3 or #6 on their jersey, Indiana will be able to keep pace and frustrate the Heat into looking for desperate, last-second shots. Miami needs guys like Mario Chalmers, Ronny Turiaf, Mike Miller and Shane Battier to step up, or risk going down 2-1 in the series and giving Indiana a chance to nab two games at home to push the series to the brink.
Betting Lines for Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat at Oddsmaker Sportsbook.
The options on the money line for tonight’s critical Game 3 find the Miami Heat still as a favorite to win despite Chris Bosh’s absence and a trip to hostile territory, with -140 odds straight up. Indiana is a +120 underdog, and interestingly enough just in the last half-hour the odds have gotten better (+115 to +120) for underdog pickers, making this a tantalizing wager on the Pacers at home.
Against the spread, Miami is a 2.5 point favorite, with Indiana needing to cover 2.5 points, and both options provided with -110 odds on the betting lines. After Game 1, where the Pacers where an 8.5 point underdog, the spread has tightened up very quickly due to the improved defensive play of Indiana and Miami’s loss of Chris Bosh, and with Indiana getting a chance to control this series with a win at home, we certainly like the odds taking Indiana to cover the spread as underdogs.
For the over/under, the total points line is also dropping down, now at 180.5 points as bettors are moving towards the underside of the line with the likelihood of another slow-paced game very high. While we can’t expect both teams to struggle shooting the ball as they did in Game 2, Indiana knows that their key to staying in the game lies with a slower-paced game, and will look to prevent much offensive production from trickling down into the Heat’s supporting cast. We certainly like the underside of the total points once again tonight, expecting lots of half-court offense, and plenty of smothering defense on both sides of the court.
Make sure to get your wagers placed at Oddsmaker Sportsbook, one of the best online sportsbooks reviewed on our website, for the exciting Game 3 action set to come this evening. With everything reset in this series and a chance for either team to gain an advantage for what looks to be a drawn out 7-game showdown, this contest tonight should be one of the best opportunities for betting on sports this week, and certainly one you won’t want to miss out on.