PRIDE is at stake, a championship is on the line. For the Los Angeles Lakers, one more victory earns them their record-tying 17th championship.
For the injury-riddled Miami Heat, they will be looking to extend the series and channel the spirit of this year's Denver Nuggets to try and turn the tide. There's an abundance of value to be found sitting within the narratives with everything on the line.
Davis has been nothing short of exceptional. The transcendent big man leads the team on both ends of the floor, mixing his rim shattering dunks with expertly timed jump shots to keep the defense honest while thwarting. Miami's penetration game with resounding accuracy.
Critics pointed out that Davis was unable to replicate his current form during his time with New Orleans, suggesting his running mate LeBron James is the catalyst now. The fact of the matter is Davis is the unequivocal NBA Finals MVP – and if you haven't already taken the 6/1 odds on this, you would be wise to do so.
Davis has also been flirting with averaging a double-double over the last four games, providing us with the data to make a punt of this line worth the risk. Moreover, Davis' 1.8 blocks a game is a testament to his rim protection, and in a game of such magnitude, you could be forgiven in opting to make a cheeky dabble on +2 blocks in Game Five.
The self-proclaimed King, aging on his throne yet showing no signs of a willingness to abdicate. Setting a record for most 25-point, 10-rebound games in the NBA Finals, the King is still operating at a level never seen before.
— The Association on FOX (@TheAssociation) October 7, 2020
On numerous occasions, James has been here before and knows what it takes to close a series out. Averaging a double-double for the series, the value of repeating this feat in Game Five is low – making it a very safe choice. Yet, if you believe that fortune favours the brave, then a run at James ending the night with a triple-double isn't a poor decision.
If any player will end the Lakers' unbeaten streak in the black "Mamba" jerseys, it's Jimmy Butler. The hard-working wing will be doing everything in his power to claw Miami to victory. Having to shoulder some additional workload due to the injury sustained by veteran point-guard Goran Dragic, Butler displayed his credentials as one of the league’s best with his insanely efficient triple-double in Game Three.
Butler isn't known as a knock-down scorer. Instead, a fierce competitor and defense lynchpin. With that said, Butler elevates his game when his back is against the wall, so any odds on him scoring, assisting, and rebounding greater than 30 combined will be excellent value.
Here is where I would usually provide you with some value to be found in Adebayo's play. However, due to sustaining an injury earlier in the series and not being fully healthy, the best deal you can get is not putting too much stock into Adebayo's influence in the upcoming game.
If that's not something you're willing to do, then an Adebayo double-double is the safest option available. There's no telling if the young big man will be on a minutes restriction, or how productive he will be, but 10 points and rebounds are achievable for him.
There's also every opportunity for Adebayo to go for 15 or more points in this contest should he get the court time. In comparison, his assists will generally sit between five and ten on any given night. An outside opportunity for some additional weekend cash would be taking combined points, assists, and rebounds of over 35.
Goran Dragic's injury at the start of the series seems insurmountable at this point. The Lakers are too top-heavy with star talent. Miami's inverted 2-3 zone defense has been busted open by the Lakers' ‘smash-and-grab’ style of offense with callous regularity.
Miami stands a chance in Game Five, but nothing short of a miracle will earn them the opportunity to partake in a Game Seven. James and Davis' have been far too dominant for Miami even to hold hope of that happening.
As such, the best value will be in the Lakers ending the series in Game Five, with both teams scoring north of 216.5 combined points. If you're looking for a big outside shot, then overtime at 13/1 is for you! With the season on the line and the Heat's combative nature, they won't go into the night quietly.
Finally, with the NBA season's end drawing near, and a champion most likely named by the week's end, basketball will draw to a close until January at the earliest. As such, looking ahead to the draft and free-agency will ensure you're ready to snag some high-risk high-reward opportunities once they arise.
Series odds: Lakers (1/100) Heat (22/1)
Game Five odds: Lakers (2/7) Heat (11/4)
Game Five handicap odds: Lakers -7.5 (10/11) Heat +7.5 (10/11)
Game Five picks: Lakers to win (2/7), Lakers to win and over 216.5 total points (29/20), To go to overtime (13/1)