- Game 1 of the NBA Finals tips off Thursday night in Denver
- Bam Adebayo has failed to clear 16 points in five straight starts
- Don’t miss the Heat vs Nuggets best player prop targets and same-game parlay picks for Game 1 here
Game 1 of the NBA Finals tips off Thursday, and to say it’s not the matchup most people were expecting would be an understatement. The Nuggets may have been the conference’s top seed, but most pundits banked on the Kevin Durant/Devin Booker led Suns emerging as the West’s representative.
The Heat on the other hand, shocked everyone, emerging from a must win Play In Tournament game just to reach the playoffs. They were +15000 to win it all prior the playoffs beginning, but navigated their way through a loaded East, taking out two of the league’s top-three NBA Championship odds contenders along the way.
The NBA Finals betting menu is extensive, and oddsmakers didn’t waste any time posting lines. Player props and same-game parlay options were ready shortly after the Eastern Conference Final, and we’ve identified a few worth targeting.
Heat vs Nuggets Player Props – Game 1
|Bam Adebayo Under 16.5 Points||-125|
|Max Strus Under 2.5 Threes||-190|
Our Heat vs Nuggets player props card starts with the under on Bam Adebayo’s points total. The line currently sits at 16.5 in the NBA odds, with the juice shaded slightly to the under.
Odds as of May 31 at Caesars. Claim a Caesars promo code to bet on Heat vs Nuggets Game 1.
NBA Finals Player Prop #1: Bam Adebayo Under 16.5 Points
Adebayo struggled with foul trouble on and off during the postseason, and that should continue against Denver. He’ll be one of the primary defenders on Nikola Jokic, and the two-time MVP can make even the best defensive players look like amateurs.
Jokic when Bam Adebayo guarding him first possession of the Finals pic.twitter.com/ixBBid9xu6
— n a s i r . (@FLYGODNAS) May 30, 2023
Foul trouble is a sure fire way to get your minutes cut, but even if he plays his normal allotment of minutes, Adebayo is going to have to improve drastically on his efficiency to clear this number.
The Miami center shot below 42% versus the Celtics in three of his past six games, and has failed to clear 16 points in five straight starts. He’s made only eight of his past 26 attempts from the field, and rarely gets to the free throw line, averaging less than 4.5 trips this postseason.
Pick: Bam Adebayo Under 16.5 Points (-125)
NBA Finals Player Prop #2: Max Strus Under 2.5 Threes
Speaking of inefficient shooting, that’s been Max Strus’ crutch lately. The 27-year-old made just 34% of his threes in the East Final, going 8-of-28 from long range over the final four games.
Strus’ volume has also decreased significantly since the regular season which is another reason to fade him. He’s averaging two fewer threes per contest in the playoffs, despite playing similar minutes.
The emergence of Caleb Martin’s long range game won’t help Strus earn any additional looks. Martin averaged double the amount of three-point looks in the East Final compared to the regular season, knocking down 44% of his attempts.
In the Eastern Conference Finals:
Caleb Martin — Jaylen Brown —
19.3 PPG 19.0 PPG
6.4 RPG 6.1 RPG
60/49/88% 42/16/67% pic.twitter.com/pyTlVAovoG
— StatMuse (@statmuse) May 30, 2023
Also working against Strus is the fact that Denver actually defends the three-point line quite well. The Nuggets are yielding a 34.2% opponent shooting percentage on triples, which is a top-seven mark among playoff teams.
Pick: Max Strus Under 2.5 Threes (-190)
Heat vs Nuggets Same-Game Parlay Picks
Shifting gears to the same-game parlay streets where we’re banking on the Nuggets home dominance to continue. Denver is a perfect 8-0 in their own building this postseason per the NBA betting trends, after posting a league best 34-7 mark at Ball Arena during the regular season.
You may a think a long break could hurt them in Game 1 and cause a slow start, but historical data suggests otherwise. Home teams with a break of at least five days prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals are 8-1 all-time. The lone exception was the ’98 Jazz who lost Game 1 to Michael Jordan and Bulls. Denver has won each of its past five home games by at least 5 points, so we’ll start our SGP with alternate spread of Nuggets -4.5.
Heat vs Nuggets Same-Game Parlay
|Denver Nuggets -4.5||-185|
|Miami Heat Under 108.5||-180|
|Nikola Jokic Triple-Double||-130|
|Same-Game Parlay Odds||+200|
We’ll pair that with under 108.5 points for Miami, who are in danger of underwhelming offensively in Game 1. For starters, this team is likely exhausted having just survived a grueling seven-game series. Their starters played well over 40 minutes in Game 7 versus Boston on Monday, while Denver’s defensive rating is 9 points better at home versus on the road.
Finally, let’s bank on yet another triple-double from Jokic. The Joker has already posted nine this postseason, with five in his past six games. He averaged 23 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in two regular season meetings versus Miami, and has averaged north of a triple-double at home this season.
Pick: Same-Game Parlay (+200)