The Miami Heat remain the betting favorites to win the 2014 NBA Finals, as the series heads to Miami in Game Three.
The defending champs stole home-court advantage from the San Antonio Spurs with a Game Two victory on Sunday night. LeBron James’s 35 points led the Heat to a 98-96 win.
Now that the Heat don’t have to win another game on the road to take the series, they appear to be in the driver’s seat. Bet Online lists Miami’s odds of winning it all at -141. San Antonio comes in at +121.
Both teams have been dominant at home in the playoffs. The Spurs’ loss ended a streak of eight consecutive postseason wins in San Antonio by at least 15 points. Miami hasn’t lost a home playoff game since Game One of last year’s Finals.
Unlike in previous years, the series is guaranteed to go back to San Antonio. For the first time since 1984 years, the team with the worse record will not play three straight games at home.
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Game Three was often the most pivotal of the series under the 2-3-2 format. Between 1985 and 2013, teams split the first two games of the Finals 12 times. Last year was the only instance in which the Game Three winner went on to lose the series. The Spurs beat the Heat by 36 points in Game Three last season.
Miami’s Big Three has been terrific, after losing the series opener. They have followed every Game One loss with a victory, going on to win the series each time.
Winning on Sunday would have made the Spurs prohibitive favorites. Teams that win the first two games of the Finals go on to lose the series less than 10 percent of the time. The Heat are one of the few teams that have overcome a 2-0 series deficit, doing so against the Dallas Mavericks in 2006.