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NBA Finals 2011 Odds: Heat Heavy Favorites Over Mavericks

The Miami Heat have the odds in their favor heading into the 2011 NBA Finals opposite the Dallas Mavericks. According to Bodog, the Heat are -180 to win the series, and the Mavs are +160. The most favored outcome in the series, per Bodog, is the Heat in seven (11/4), with Miami in six (13/4) right behind it.

The vagaries of the NBA Finals schedule -- the league uses a 2-3-2 format, with Game 5 in the lower seed's home arena (Dallas, in this case) and Games 6 and 7 back in the high seed's gym (Miami) -- impact the odds a bit; usually, the team with home court will be more heavily favored to win in five than six because it's easier to win at home.

The 2-3-2 format serves to equalize or dampen home court advantage a bit by giving the lower seed first crack at holding serve for a series lead. When these teams met in the 2006 Finals, Miami used that to burst out to a 3-2 series lead before winning in Dallas in Game 6.

According to Bodog, Miami was the championship favorite back before the season began at 17/10, ahead of the two-time defending champion L.A. Lakers (5/2). The Mavericks were No. 7 on the list of contenders at 20/1.