The Dallas Mavericks travel to Miami for Game One of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night.
Oddsmakers have the Heat as a 4.5-point favorite with an over/under of 187 points.
The best odds are for the Heat to win the series in seven games, and the biggest longshot is the Mavericks sweeping the series. An interesting note is that the Mavericks have better odds for winning in six games than seven.
In the two games the Mavericks and Heat played in the regular season, the Mavericks won both. On November 27th, the Mavs beat the Heat, 106-95, in Dallas. Caron Butler led the Mavericks in scoring with 23 points, though Butler won't be activated for the NBA Finals while out with an injury.
On December 20th, the Mavs beat the Heat in Miami, 98-96. Dirk Nowitzki led all scorers with 26 points.
An interesting fact from the two games: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, each scored between 23 and 19 points in the series.
The two teams met in the 2006 NBA Finals, but only Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Wade, and Udonis Haslem remain from the series. The Mavericks won the first two games of the series, but lost the next four.
Of the 22 ESPN analysts making predictions on the series, 15 predict the Heat will win. Notable names picking Miami include Chris Broussard, Michael Wilbon, and Chad Ford, while notable names picking Dallas include Chris Sheridan, J.A. Adande, and Marc Stein.
Half of the 22 experts have the series going to seven games, only one predicted the series would go five games, and none predicted a sweep.
Before the season, some experts predicted Miami would advance to the NBA Finals, while few expected Miami to reach the Finals.
A survey of NBA general managers before the season started had 63 percent predicting the Los Angeles Lakers would win the Championship, followed by 33.3 percent believing the Heat would win the NBA Finals, and 3.7 believing the Boston Celtics would take home the title.
In the same survey, 96.4 percent of general managers believe the Lakers would win the West, with 3.6 percent believing the Mavericks would go to the Finals. As for the East, 70.4 percent believed the Heat would come out of the conference, while 18.5 percent thought it would be the Celtics, and 11.1 predicted the Orlando Magic.