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Lakers Set Up for Another Narrow Cover

Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat Game 3 Betting Preview

The Los Angeles Lakers are halfway to an NBA Finals sweep – but their most recent win might have bettors second-guessing their chances of an ATS whitewash as they tangle with the Miami Heat in Game 3 on Sunday. The Lakers (-9.5) needed a last-minute 3-pointer to pull out a half-point cover in Friday's 124-114 triumph, and are going to see a similar spread Sunday.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat
  • Date/Time: October 4, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: AdventHealth Arena
  • TV Coverage: ABC
  • Opening Odds: Lakers -5 | O/U 217.5 (Line History)
  • Lakers vs Heat Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The Lakers opened as five-point favorites, but their impressive play combined with major Heat injury concerns have pushed this line all the way up to either -8.5 or -9 depending on the sportsbook. The total has risen one full point to 218.5.

LA Lakers News & Notes

The Lakers went full-throttle in Game 2, shooting better than 50 percent from the field while getting 65 points and 23 rebounds from their dynamic duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. But L.A. probably would have preferred to put this game away a little earlier, with shorthanded Miami closing to within single digits with 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

They were also fortunate to overcome a wild free-throw disparity in which they went just 10-for-17 from the foul line while the Heat finished 31-of-34 from the stripe. And while it didn't throw the Lakers' chances of victory in doubt, another gap like that – especially if Miami gets at least one of its injured starters back – might have more of an impact, both on the outcome and on the cover.

Miami News & Notes

There's good news and bad news for the Heat going into a must-win Game 3. Center Bam Adebayo says he plans on being in the Miami lineup after setting out Friday with a neck strain; his presence will provide a significant boost to an undermanned Heat frontcourt that allowed the Lakers to enjoy a 52-41 rebound advantage and a 56-46 edge in points in the paint.

Things aren't nearly as rosy for starting point guard Goran Dragic, who suffered a torn plantar fascia in his left foot in the Game 1 defeat and is trending toward being sidelined for a second straight game. The Heat put rookie sensation Tyler Herro in the starting lineup in Dragic's place, but the streaky scorer had just 17 points on 5-of-12 shooting in 43 minutes.

Betting Pick: Lakers -8.5 (-110)

This is the number you want, if you can find it; if -9 is the only one you can get, pay for the half-point drop. We like Los Angeles to continue its dominance, but Miami isn't likely to make it easy, particularly with Adebayo back patrolling the paint.

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Shark Bites
  • Miami is 13-4 ATS in its last 17 games.
  • LA Lakers are 6-0 SU in their last 6 games against Miami.
  • The total has gone OVER in five of Miami's last six games.