Can the Mavericks handle the Heat?
The NBA reaches its pinnacle tonight as the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks go head to head over seven games to decide the 2011 NBA Championship winner.
The Heat are in a position whereby their years of planning and rather poor form has paid off, they managed to make the audacious grab of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as free agents at the beginning of the season and since then they have powered their way through the season.
Both sides are lead by two contrasting flair players, The Maves are lead by arguably the best ever European player to take part in the NBA. Dirk Nowizki strikes an awkward figure at just over seven foot, yet through his lanky and gangly appearance there is a hidden grace to his game, an ability to make shots almost impossible to anyone else and this is what has driven the Mavs to the finals.
Contrast this with James, the charismatic and clinical Small Forward for the Heat. 'King James' in his first season with the Heat has been a revelation for the Miami outfit, having had five unsuccessful years at the Cavs he is looking for his first ever NBA Championship ring. He has been hyped as the future of Basketball since high-school and if he were to end his career without a Championship ring it would be considered a travesty.
Miami come into this as the favoured side, but it must be stressed that over seven games anything can happen. At 4/9 they are very short price to win their first NBA title since going all the way in 2006, their first ever NBA win.
The Mavs are currently 2/1 to claim their first ever Championship win, having been formed eight years before the Heat in 1980.
Both teams managed to play only 15 games each in the play-offs meaning they should be relatively fit for the final push.
We have several player specials based on their average series score. Coming into these games Nowizki has been averaging 28.4 points and shooting 51.7% from the field, you can back him at 5/6 to average over or under 26.5 points in the series.
LeBron James is 5/6 to average over/under 27.5 points over the seven games, he left a lot of carnage in his wake during the play-offs which included a complete shutdown of MVP Derrick Rose in the Eastern Conference finals. King James is 11/10 to be the MVP of the final with Nowitski at 15/8 and you'd have to imagine it will come down to a shootout between these two, both literally and figuratively.
Much has been made of the Heat attacking trio of James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh and we are offering a very attractive 9/4 that they will collectively score 80 points or more in any of the games.
We are also offering series handicap betting with the Heat -1.5 games priced at Evens while you can back the Cavs at 8/11 plus 1.5 games.
Being a supporter of the underdogs and a Nowizki fan my heart says the Mavericks will cause an upset and stop the Heat, but with a cold hard analysis of the teams I can't see anything but a Miami win, and a convincing one at that. I would be backing Nowizki to average over 26.5 points and ultimately a Heat win.