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The must-read trends for the Spurs and Heat’s NBA Finals rematch

| 03.06.2014

For the 13th time in NBA history, the Finals will be a rematch of the previous year’s series as the San Antonio Spurs lock horns with the Miami Heat looking to avenge the defeat they suffered in seven games 12 months ago.

Leaving aside the analysis that compares and contrasts the Heat’s star-reliant roster with the Spurs’ team-first ethos, there are some trends which can guide your hand when making a decision over who to back throughout the series.

In Game 1, for instance, look no further than the Spurs at 4/7. Gregg Popovich’s side have never lost any of the five Game 1s they’ve contested in NBA Finals history, winning by an average margin of 10.4 points per game.

While the Spurs thrive in Finals openers, LeBron James does not when forced to play on the road in any round’s curtain raiser. Over the course of his career with both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, James is 0-7 in road Game 1s, losing by an average 12.3 points each time.

He can be thankful for All-Star teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami though, as they’ve helped him overturn the three series Game 1s James has lost with them to eventually claw back a win further down the road. The Heat are currently 6/4 to win these Finals with a -1.5-game handicap.

The last time the sport witnessed a consecutive-year rematch was back in 1997.

Back then, the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz by exactly the same score line (4-2) that they’d triumphed by in the previous year. It’s 11/2 that the Heat prevail 4-3 in a Game 7 thriller once more.

However, a trend to boost the Spurs’ confidence revolves around the fact that in five of the last six Finals rematches, the team who lost the first series exacted revenge a year down the road. The Spurs are 20/23 to make that six in seven this year.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.