- The Denver Nuggets are 2-point favorites against the Miami Heat on Saturday afternoon
- Both teams are already locked into playoff positions, but they each have a chance to improve their seeding before the end of the regular season
- Read below for a deeper look at this Heat-Nuggets matchup
The NBA regular season is back in full swing, and with it comes some tremendous matchups between playoff teams. One of the most intriguing of those games is Saturday’s contest that will feature the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets.
Denver and Miami are both set to resume seasons that were going very well, but it’s Nikola Jokic and company that have the edge in the Heat vs Nuggets odds.
Miami Heat vs Denver Nuggets Odds
|Miami Heat||+2 (-110)||+100||O 211 (-110)|
|Denver Nuggets||-2 (-110)||-118||U 211 (-110)|
Odds taken July 31
This will be the first regular season matchup of the restart for both teams, so the biggest narrative for both sides will be the inevitable rust that has to be shaken off. Both teams have looked good in scrimmage action so far, but no team in the entire league is back to midseason form yet.
How Were These Teams Performing ATS?
The long layoff has obviously thrown a wrench into the momentum of the 2019-20 NBA season, but the information gleaned from earlier in the year can still be valuable. One piece of that information pertaining to this game is that, in their respective situations, a look at the Nuggets vs Heat betting trends shows that neither Miami or Denver has performed very well.
As an underdog, the Heat have posted a record of 9-11-1. Denver, as a favorite, sit at a similarly underwhelming 22-24-3. These marks hold with the teams’ overall ATS records, both Miami’s 33-30-2 and Denver’s 29-32-4.
Can Denver Keep the Heat From Getting Hot?
Nothing knocks the rust off like stringing together a few big shots, and no team is more dangerous in that situation than Miami. If the Nuggets are weak on the perimeter, Miami can do some damage.
The Heat are first in the NBA in three-point shooting at 38.3%, and they aren’t conservative about taking those shots, ranking in the top third of the league in attempts. Duncan Robinson leads the team, knocking down 44.8% of his shots on 8.4 attempts per game.
Through the scrimmages, a key issue for the Nuggets was defending the three ball. If that problem already exists, it could be exploited by Miami to great success on Saturday.
This matchup is one of the most underrated of the league’s re-opening weekend. Yes, Lakers-Clippers was tremendous, and games like Rockets-Mavericks and Bucks-Celtics will be fun, but Nuggets-Heat features two playoff teams who, on paper, are about as close as it gets. The Nuggets twitter account put out a graphic that lays this out.
Sizing up the competition.
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) July 30, 2020
Things are also tight when it comes to points per game (slight edge to Miami), three-point percentage (Miami), and field goal percentage (even).
Who Has the Edge?
Each of these teams has a chance to make a strong playoff run, but in this matchup, it’s Denver that has the edge. There are really two key factors here that give Mike Malone’s team the advantage.
The first is a couple of high-level creators on offense. Nikola Jokic is a tremendous passing big man, and Jamal Murray is becoming one of the great offensive guards in the league. The roster in Miami is a strong, well-balanced one, but it doesn’t have the sort of passers and offense-generators that Denver does.
Secondly, the deep Nugget bench is a huge asset. With a unit that includes Michael Porter Jr, Mason Plumlee, Jerami Grant, and Will Barton, plus a few other productive NBA role players, Denver has a deeper pool of talent to dip into. As guys work back into shape in the bubble, fresh legs are a big advantage.
The pick: Nuggets ML (-118)