NBA Finals Predictions – Don’t overthink it; LeBron and the Lakers will beat the Heat

LeBron James talks with Los Angeles Lakers teammate Alex Caruso.
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon

NBA · 2 years ago

Show Bio

Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

Death, taxes, and LeBron James in the NBA Finals. Those are the three certainties of life.

Just how many of these things has LeBron been to? Not one, not two, not three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine… no, this will be his 10th appearance in the NBA Finals. LeBron is bidding for his fourth title, having triumphed twice with the Miami Heat—yes, the same team that his Los Angeles Lakers now face—and once during his second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Experience… and lack thereof

Needless to say, experience will be a factor in this upcoming series. In addition to LeBron, Lakers guard Danny Green is a two-time NBA champion (he won one with the San Antonio Spurs—beating LeBron’s Heat in the finals—and a second last year with the Toronto Raptors). Point guard Rajon Rondo lifted the Larry O’Brien Trophy with the Boston Celtics in 2008. On Miami’s roster, Andre Iguodala is the only player seeing any court time who has played in the NBA Finals.

That is not to say that the Heat will be overwhelmed by this occasion. This team has met the playoff pressure in impressive fashion throughout the Orlando bubble. It is brimming with confidence heading into this series. Still, there is just something different about the NBA Finals—especially against the vaunted Lakers—compared to the Eastern Conference playoffs. In crunch time, it will be tough to bet against a player who has been here 10 times before and has captured the title on a trio of occasions.

Star power

While experience is a factor, it’s not the x-factor. There is no need to make this more complicated than it is: LeBron isn’t just more experienced than everyone else, he is quite simply better than everyone else. In fact, Los Angeles boasts the two best players in this series—by a country mile, too—in LeBron and Anthony Davis. To say they are bona fide superstars would be a gross understatement.

Even at 35 years old, LeBron averaged 25.3 points, a career-high 10.2 assists, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. He finished runner-up in the MVP voting to Giannis Antetokounmpo. In his first season with the Lakers, Davis delivered 26.1 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 3.2 APG, 2.3 BPG, and 1.5 SPG. He averaged 31.2 PPG during the five-game Western Conference Finals victory over the Denver Nuggets.

The Heat will counter with a well-rounded crew led by Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro. Butler is a five-time all-star, while Adebayo and Herro are future stars. Heck, those two are also stars of these current NBA playoffs. But they aren’t superstars.

This is a league dominated by those superstars—especially in the playoffs. Go back and look at the list of NBA champions and you will find teams led by Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry a bunch of times, a lot of LeBron, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant etc. The Heat beat an Indiana Pacers team that had no such star power and a Celtics squad that has plenty of all-stars but no one who is a top-tier NBA player… yet. Yes, they also got past Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, but Giannis did not have any help in the playoffs. LeBron has Anthony Davis. Anthony Davis has LeBron.

Throw in role players like Green, Rondo, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dwight Howard, and Alex Caruso, and this LA team is a well-oiled machine from top to bottom. Top-heavy? Sure. But also deep.

The pick

Speaking of depth, the Heat don’t feature a ton of it—at least not on the offensive end of the floor. They have only six guys who are averaging more than 6.0 PPG in the playoffs. Success with six can be sustainable if Herro continues to catch fire off the bench, Adebayo keeps up his current pace, and Duncan Robinson dials long distances with amazing accuracy.

However, all of that is easier said than done against an opponent that led the Western Conference in scoring defense during the regular season. The Lakers are giving up even fewer points in the postseason (106.5 PPG, which is third among the 16 playoff participants).

LeBron and company beat the Portland Trail Blazers in five, the Houston Rockets in five, and the Nuggets in five. Are the Heat really that much better than those teams? They might not even be better than the Rockets and Nuggets at all.

Make no mistake about it: the Heat are good. Their problem is that the Lakers—specifically LeBron and A.D.—are great. Lakers in five has been the theme of these playoffs and there is no reason to waver from that now.

That’s right; Lakers in five.

Pickswise is the home of free NBA picks and predictions. Check out the latest NBA props and NBA parlays as well as best bets from the experts.

Virginia Bonuses

See All
FanDuel Sportsbook


Get a $1,000 No Sweat First Bet on Dolphins vs. Bengals

Sign up for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account and make your first deposit of $10+

Place your first bet up to $1,000!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

Must be 21+. First online real money wager only. $10 first deposit required. Bonus issued as non-withdrawable free bets that expire 14 days after receipt. See full terms at



Bet $5+ on Dolphins or Bengals ML, Get $200 If Your Bet Wins

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5+ on any NFL pre-game ML

Win $200 if your team wins

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.



Get a $100 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $100 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $100

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.



Get 4x $200 In Free Bets on Dolphins vs. Bengals ML

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Bet up to $200 and If you lose, you get a refund

You will receive Free Bet(s) in the amount of the losing wager(s), up to $200 each for four days.

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Caesars Sportsbook


Get a $1,250 risk-free bet on Dolphins vs. Bengals

Sign up for a new Caesars Sportsbook account

Place your first bet of $10 or more

If your first bet loses, you’ll receive a refund up to $1,250 from Caesars in free bets

21+. Terms and conditions apply.



Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet on Dolphins vs. Bengals

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.



Get Your First Bet Risk-Free Up To $500

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make your first deposit & get up to $500 in free bets

To get $500 in free bets, wager $500

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF



Bet $5+ on MLB and get $100 in Free Bets Instantly!

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5+ on any MLB team to win their next game

Win $100 no matter what!

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.



Get 5x $100 in Free Bets on Dolphins vs. Bengals ML With PointsBet's Second Chance

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Get this offer once a day for the first 5 days you sign up

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.



Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.



Get $2,000 in Free Bets

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit

Receive a free bet refund up to $500 if your first fixed odds bet loses

& a free bet refund up to $1,500 if your first two PointsBetting Wager loses

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Monkey Knife Fight


Claim Instant Deposit Match up to $100 + Free $5 game

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

Yahoo DFS


Get $25 in Site Credit With Yahoo DFS When You Deposit $5!

Register for a new account with Yahoo DFS and deposit $5+

Enter a $5 DFS contest

Upon entry, you will receive a bonus $25 in credit into your account!

21+ and new players only. Full terms available from Yahoo DFS.



Get Your First Single-Horse Win Wager Back Up to $200 if you don't win

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $200

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.



Get a $200 Sign-Up Bonus with Twinspires Racebook!

Open your account using offer code BET200

$200 bonus cash will be credited in increments of $100 for every $400 wagered

To earn the full $200 bonus players must wager $800 within 30 days

21+. Terms and conditions apply.