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Heat vs Spurs 2014 NBA Finals predictions, ESPN betting odds & free Game 1 picks

Tim Duncan #21 and Danny Green #4 of the San Antonio Spurs battle for the ball against LeBron James #6 and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat in overtime during Game Six of the 2013 NBA Finals at AmericanAirlines Arena on June 18, 2013 in Miami, Fla.
Tim Duncan #21 and Danny Green #4 of the San Antonio Spurs battle for the ball against LeBron James #6 and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat in overtime during Game Six of the 2013 NBA Finals at AmericanAirlines Arena on June 18, 2013 in Miami, Fla.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Watch free live stream of Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals between Miami Heat vs San Antonio Spurs here!

NBA basketball fans are just moments removed from Game 1 of the much anticipated 2014 NBA Finals between the Heat and the Spurs. Thanks to an ESPN June 5 report, betting odds and expert predictions are now available, as well as a free Game 1 picks selection.

For starters, the San Antonio Spurs not only come in favored to win the 2014 NBA Championship, but NBA oddsmakers have last year’s runners up as the favorites in the opener. For the Miami Heat, it seems that two NBA titles in a row means very little in oddsmakers eyes, as LeBron James and company are getting no respect.

At ESPN.com, published point spreads indicate that the Spurs [-5] are five-point favorites against the Heat [+5] this evening, and that the OVER/UNDER is set at a combined total of 199 points. It’s also worth noting that straight-up betting lines for Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals go as follows: Miami [+195] vs. San Antonio [-215].

For the record, the Miami Heat went 47-48-2 against-the-spread this 2013-14 NBA season, along with a 55-42-0 OVER/UNDER mark to go with it. Their counterparts, the Spurs, come in sporting an ATS record of 54-46-0 and went 54-45-1 in O/U wagers.

As stated in Steve Ilardi’s ESPN piece, Gregg Popovich’s team is favored against Erik Spoelstra’s squad in the 2014 NBA Finals and with good reason. Head-to-head, San Antonio holds a 4-3 matchup edge in the seven most important statistical categories.

This season, the Spurs have scored more points than Miami, shot a better percentage from the charity stripe, rebounded the ball better, and the big one, their bench production was its biggest advantage. For the two-time defending NBA champs, they did the following things better than the Spurs: Field-goal percentage, defense and turnovers.

Who will win Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs? With home-court advantage on their side, one certainly favors Tim Duncan and company to draw first blood in the series.

However, when it comes to ATS betting, the approach is a much different one. Obviously, both of these clubs match up well against each other, but they also come in motivated and with lots to prove.

Thus, tonight’s contest could be the most competitive game of the entire best-of-seven series. With that said, while taking San Antonio straight-up certainly justifiable, passing on the Miami Heat with a five-point cushion is flat out foolish.

Free 2014 NBA Finals Picks for Game 1: Miami Heat +5