The Miami Heat got a gift when the Philadelphia 76ers knocked the top-seeded Chicago Bulls out of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Now Miami can take care of business without Chicago looming on the horizon.
The Heat begin that effort when they start a conference semifinals series with the upstart Indiana Pacers Sunday afternoon.
The Heat are also listed at -500 on WilliamHill's NBA betting moneyline, with Indiana getting +400 to win Game 1 outright.
On the NBA futures betting market WilliamHill is chalking Miami at -1,000 to win this series, with the Pacers getting +650 to pull the upset.
Finally, the Heat are listed at -350 to win the Eastern Conference and +115 to win the NBA title, while Indiana is getting +900 to win the East and +2,500 to win the league championship.
Miami went 46-20 this season to win the Southeast Division once again. But they came up short on securing the top seed in the Eastern Conference. That doesn't matter now, though, because the top-seeded Bulls are no longer alive in these playoffs.
The Heat dispatched of the New York Knicks in the first round of these playoffs, taking the first three games, giving the Knicks one game then winning Game 5 Wednesday night 106-94.
On the other side of this series matchup Indiana earned the three seed in the East this season by going 42-24. And they ended the season on a 12-3 run. The Pacers then got a bit of a wake-up call when they lost their first-round series opener at home to the Dwight Howard-less Orlando Magic. But the Pacers then showed who the better team really was by winning the next four games, ending the series with a 105-87 victory Tuesday night.
Head-to-head this season Miami took three of four games from Indiana. Two of those games were Heat blowouts.