How wiseguys view the NBA Finals 

May, 30, 2011

Already, before the NBA finals have even started, it's been a fascinating series. The storylines are nice: Evil LeBron versus Beloved Dirk. Emotional Mark Cuban versus Collected Pat Riley.

And from a gambling perspective, it's been clear from the moment that the lines and series odds were posted that the public was leaning toward the Dallas Mavericks. Most places opened series odds at Heat minus-200, and they are now hovering around Heat minus-175. Meanwhile, the Game 1 line opened at most places as Miami minus-5. By Friday afternoon it had settled a half-point half lower and has remained at Miami minus-4.5.

In other words, given the standard four-point advantage for home court, this is practically an even matchup at a neutral site. "I actually had Miami as just 0.8 points higher in my power rating," said Erin Rynning, the Vegas vet who pegged the Memphis Grizzlies as a playoff threat in one of my postseason preview podcasts. "So the market is bearing that out, meaning there isn't enough value to make that bet for me right now."