Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Heat and the Spurs was full of madness, which impacted how the sportsbooks see the rest of the series while reaffirming its must-see status. Here you can see that before Game 1 America’s Bookie had the Spurs as -130 favorites to win the NBA Finals and the Heat were Even. The series price changed and now the Spurs are at -230 and the Heat are at +190.
The air conditioning failed at the AT&T Center, the Heat’s lead disappeared and the Spurs caught fire in the fourth quarter en route to a 110-95 win. But when all is said and done, Thursday’s series opener will always be remembered as the game when LeBron James was forced to the bench late because of leg cramps.
Facing each other in the NBA Finals for the second straight season, the Heat and the Spurs both played at an extremely high level and were evenly matched through the first three-and-a-half quarters of the game, but that balance changed when James came out.
The Finals began with the Spurs favored by 3½ points in Game 1 because of home court advantage but the game was basically considered a toss-up. However, because of LeBron James’ absence and San Antonio’s offensive explosion (which came in large part with James sitting), the oddsmakers could not justify a significant spread change prior to Game 2 and the Spurs are favored by 4 points.
The half-point bump in their favor does recognize their late-game shooting, as they were incredible in the 4th quarter, going 14-16, including 6-6 from 3-point range.
Below are the complete odds to win the 2014 NBA Finals at America’s Bookie: