After winning 12 of 15 playoff games against the Pacers, the Celtics, and the top-seeded Bucks, the Heat don’t consider themselves underdogs in the NBA Finals, Jimmy Butler told reporters today (Twitter link via Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group). However, oddsmakers disagree.
At BetOnline.ag, the Lakers are considered -325 favorites to win the series, meaning you’d have to risk $325 to earn $100 on a Lakers championship. The Heat, on the other hand, are +270 underdogs — risking $100 would result in a $270 profit if Miami pulls off the upset.
Despite the Heat’s impressive postseason run, it’s not hard to see why they won’t enter the NBA Finals as the favorites to take home the 2020 title. They were the East’s No. 5 seed, and while Butler and Bam Adebayo are All-Stars, they haven’t put together the sort of superstar résumés that Anthony Davis and especially LeBron James have.
Miami’s rotation also includes a rookie (Tyler Herro) and a second-year forward (Duncan Robinson) who had logged 161 total minutes in the NBA before this season. It remains to be seen how they’ll perform on the league’s biggest stage. And while Andre Iguodala has been championship-tested, the former Finals MVP isn’t exactly in his prime anymore at age 36.
James and Davis, meanwhile, have led the Lakers to a 12-3 playoff record, never facing a serious threat in the first three rounds from Portland, Houston, or Denver. Their supporting cast isn’t outstanding, but that group – which includes Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Markieff Morris, and Alex Caruso – has consistently featured at least one or two guys stepping up at the right time throughout the postseason so far.
Still, the Lakers aren’t infallible. While their defense has been strong, their offense can get stagnant at times, and the resilient Heat are capable of making them pay for mistakes. James and Davis will be a handful, but the Heat have a handful of talented defenders capable of making them work for their points, including Butler, Iguodala, Adebayo, and Jae Crowder.
What do you think? Are you sticking with the odds-on favorites from Los Angeles and predicting LeBron will win his fourth championship? Or do you think the Heat will knock off a higher seed for a fourth consecutive round and complete their improbable run to a 2020 title?
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