NBA Finals: One More Chance to Sop Gambling Gravy Off the Heat's Crazy Streak
From February 3 through March 25, the Miami Heat didn't lose a single NBA basketball game. During that streak, they recorded 27 wins in a row, the second best run at the Lakers' 33-game winning streak of the early '70s in league history, and a two-month salvo that sent the Heat into the post-season as the most prohibitive favorite to win the NBA title since the Bulls of the late '90s.
Along the way during the streak, the Heat were nearly derailed more than a few times and if not for the greatness of LeBron James on several occasions, the streak would have barely registered on the NBA's historical radar.
And yet, as the postseason has unfolded, the Heat are actually on a far more impressive streak as we speak (assuming you're speaking right now, for some reason). Of course, the NBA won't have the talking heads on NBA Countdown breaking down the stats on this streak (although I give Bill Simmons at least a puncher's chance of mentioning it), because it involves that taboo word. The G-word.
During the calendar year of 2013, the Miami Heat have followed up all 12 of their losses with a win. That shouldn't be all that surprising. Hell, if nothing else, with the fact that the Heat win a shit ton more basketball games than they lose, the math would dictate that they should win most of their games after a loss. Still, no two game losing streaks in 2013, including the playoffs, is impressive.
Even more impressive (and lucrative?), The Heat have covered the spread in all 12 of those games after a loss. Now, that's incredible. The spread on a game is the ultimate equalizer, especially in the case of a team as dominant as the Heat, turning potential landslide contests into essentially 50/50 propositions, veritable coin tosses.
The Heat have basically won 12 coin tosses in a row. To put it into a fiscal context, if you had bet $100 on the Heat in the game after all 12 of their losses in 2013 and let it ride, you'd have $409,600.
That's a lot of money!
But wait, there's more!
Not only have the Heat been covering the spread in all 12 of those games after a loss, they've been covering them by an astounding 14 points per game. That means that not only are the Heat exceeding expectations on these 50/50 propositions, they are absolutely obliterating expectations by an unfathomable margin.
Here is the breakdown of all 12 of the Heat's games after a loss, with the date, opponent, spread and final margin of victory:
1/12/13 @ Sacramento -7.5 Win by 29 (128-99) 1/16/13 @ Golden State -4 Win by 17 (92-75) 1/30/13 @ Brooklyn -2.5 Win by 20 (105-85) 2/3/13 @ Toronto -4.5 Win by 15 (100-85) 3/29/13 @ New Orleans -7.5 Win by 19 (108-89) 4/5/13 @ Charlotte -3.5 Win by 10 (89-79) 5/8/13 vs Chicago -13 Win by 37 (115-78) 5/26/13 @ Indiana -2 Win by 18 (114-96) 5/30/13 vs Indiana -7.5 Win by 11 (90-79) 6/3/13 vs Indiana -7 Win by 23 (99-76) 6/9/13 vs San Antonio -6.5 Win by 19 (103-84) 6/13/13 @ San Antonio -1 Win by 16 (109-93)
Average spread: Miami -5.5 Average margin of victory: Miami by 19.5
(NOTE: My favorite subtle nuance of this "streak" is the fact that all six of the games in the regular season that are part of this streak took place on the road, so some of these spreads look retrospectively ludicrous. I mean, what would the spread be of a Sacramento-Miami game in Sacramento if they played in April? Got to be 11 or 12, right?)
I know many of you don't gamble on sports (Why, I have no idea -- it's just so damn fulfilling), but believe me when I tell you that this 12-game "against the spread" streak is way more noteworthy than the 27-game winning streak that we saw from the Heat in February and March of this year.
It's actually not even close.
You have no idea how I wish SportsCenter would do a segment on it. Hell, if Outside the Lines had any balls, they'd take a break from Tebow-Watch 2013 to break it down, complete with a three-way split screen of Bill Simmons, R.J. Bell and Tim Donaghy arguing over its remarkableness.
(And yet, even with the streak intact, and about to become relevant again on Tuesday, the movement of Danny Green from +8000 to +240 for Finals MVP might be the most underrated, mind-boggling gambling story of the season. I mean, Danny Green is the Spurs' fifth best player? Maybe? He was cut by a craptastically shitty Cavs team in 2010! And in an NBA Finals that also includes LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, he's less than a three-to-one shot to be named the Most Valuable Player. DANNY GREEN!!! I mean...wha'????)
So why do I bring up the Heat's streak?
Because thanks to the fact that the Heat don't actually try until they absolutely have to, until they are utterly painted into a corner, the streak is back in play. The Heat lost on Sunday night 114-104 in San Antonio, so now, on Tuesday night, the Heat will go for win number 13 against the spread following a loss.
Vegas has installed the Heat as a -7 favorite over the Spurs in Game 6. In fact, on the strength of Games 6 and 7 being in Miami, the Heat remain a -130 (gamble-speak for risking $130 to win $100) favorite to win the NBA title.
Most important, if you let your original $100 wager on the Heat ride one more time, you could become $819,200 richer.
Game 6 Prediction: Heat by 21 (like clockwork)
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.