Game 7 NBA Finals Odds: Betting favors Spurs, history favors Heat

USA TODAY Sports

Game 7 has been a burying ground for road teams in the NBA playoffs, especially in the Finals. But can San Antonio's veteran lineup rebound and beat the odds and the Heat?

The year was 1978, Dennis Johnson became a national star in a two-week span for the Seattle Supersonics and Wes Unseld was headed for an NBA Finals MVP award.

It was the last year a road team would win an NBA Finals Game 7 on the road, something the San Antonio desperately need to accomplish Thursday in Miami.

Since the Bullets won the 1978 final (where Johnson went 0-for-14 in Game 7), five final series have gone seven games. The home team won all five, according to the NBA database.

2010 - Lakers 83-79 vs Boston
2005 - Spurs 81-74 vs Detroit
1994 - Rockets 90-84 vs New York
1988 - Lakers 108-105 vs Detroit
1984 - Celtics 111-102 vs Los Angeles
1978 - Washington 105-99 @ Seattle

Miami escaped with an undeserved Game 6 win in overtime and now are 6-point favorites at most sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com. While the early betting volume was slanted towards the Spurs (almost 59 percent in early wagering), many fans and handicappers were wondering if the Spurs could possibly bounce back from such a debilitating loss.

"With this reprieve, we expect LeBron James to play the whole game like he did in the fourth quarter and that will result in an easy Heat victory in our opinion," said Mark Presley of OddsShark.com. "Home teams always seem to win Game 7, but this is special circumstance and it’s hard to imagine the Spurs can rally."

Game 7s in general have proven a very tough proving ground for visitors. Since 2008, 16 series in total have gone to seven games. The road teams are just 4-12 SU (although the Chicago Bulls pulled it off this year at Brooklyn).

Year RD Date Winner *road Score Loser
2008 (1) 04-May-08 Boston Celtics 99–65 Atlanta Hawks
2008 (2) 18-May-08 Boston Celtics 97–92 Cleveland Cavaliers
2008 (3) 19-May-08 San Antonio Spurs* 91–82 New Orleans Hornets
2009 (1) 02-May-09 Boston Celtics 109–99 Chicago Bulls
2009 (2) 03-May-09 Atlanta Hawks 91–78 Miami Heat
2009 (3) 17-May-09 Los Angeles Lakers 89–70 Houston Rockets
2009 (4) 17-May-09 Orlando Magic* 101–82 Boston Celtics
2010 (1) 02-May-10 Atlanta Hawks 95–74 Milwaukee Bucks
2010 (2) 17-Jun-10 Los Angeles Lakers 83–79 Boston Celtics
2011 (1) 15-May-11 Oklahoma City Thunder 105–90 Memphis Grizzlies
2012 (1) 12-May-12 Los Angeles Lakers 96–87 Denver Nuggets
2012 (2) 13-May-12 Los Angeles Clippers* 82–72 Memphis Grizzlies
2012 (3) 26-May-12 Boston Celtics 85–75 Philadelphia 76ers
2012 (4) 09-Jun-12 Miami Heat 101–88 Boston Celtics
2013 (1) 04-May-13 Chicago Bulls* 99–93 Brooklyn Nets
2013 (2) 04-Jun-13 Miami Heat 99–76 Indiana Pacers
2013 (3) 20-Jun-13 Miami Heat ? San Antonio Spurs

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