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Opening Heat vs Nuggets NBA Finals Odds

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NBA Basketball

Updated May 29, 2023 · 9:15 PM PDT

Nuggets celebrate in front of Miami Heat players
Dec 30, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) celebrates his basket with center Nikola Jokic (15) and forward Aaron Gordon (50) in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Denver Nuggets are -350 favorites to win the NBA Finals over the Miami Heat
  • Miami avoided a 3-0 series collapse by winning Game 7 in Boston to take the East
  • Find the latest Heat vs Nuggets series odds, betting discussion and picks below

It’s been quite a journey, but now, the NBA Finals are finally here, with the Miami Heat taking on the Denver Nuggets.

The Heat sidestepped a potential crushing collapse against the Celtics, watching a 3-0 series lead disintegrate, needing to gut out a road win in Game 7 in Boston to advance to their second Finals appearance in four years.

Denver, meanwhile, has been sitting pretty since sweeping the Lakers on May 22 to claim the West.

With Nikola Jokic the outright best player on the planet, let alone in the playoffs, Denver has been pegged as -350 favorites to win their first franchise championship, according to the NBA odds.

Heat vs Nuggets Series Odds

Team Odds to Win Series Series Spread
[8] Miami Heat +280 +2.5 games (-175)
[1] Denver Nuggets -350 -2.5 games (+145)

The NBA Finals open in Denver, with Game 1 set for Thursday (June 1) at 8:30pm ET at Ball Arena. Game 2 goes Sunday (June 4) at 8pm ET.

Miami will host Games 3&4 at the Kaseya Center in South Beach. Both games tip off at 8:30pm ET. All games will be aired live on ABC.

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Odds as of May 29 at DraftKings

Heat More Than Butler and Bam

For just the second time in NBA history, an 8-seed will appear in the Finals. The Heat are far from your average eighth seed, however. After a must-win play-in, Miami claimed the last playoff spot in the East.

From there, they took off, upsetting the Bucks in five games, then downing the New York Knicks in five. After building a 3-0 lead in the East Finals against Boston, Miami lost three straight before coming up aces in Game 7 on the road in a 103-84 win.

Jimmy Butler finished with 28 points and seven boards to lead the way, while Bam Adebayo had 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Without Tyler Herro — who should likely make an appearance in the Finals after breaking his hand in the Game 1 vs the Bucks — Miami has seen a major group of contributors raise their games.

Front and centre is Caleb Martin, who was a relevation against the Celtics. He averaged 19.3 points and 6.4 rebounds in the series, shooting a blistering 60.2% from the field and 48.9% from distance. He had 26 points and 10 boards in Game 7.

Gabe Vincent scored in double digits in six of seven games against the Celtics, averaging 15.8 points on 48.5% shooting from the field and 51.6% from three-point range.

Their defense remains the key to it all: the Heat held Boston to 105.3 points per game in the series, and they’re right behind the Nuggets in points allowed per game these playoffs.

Heat vs Nuggets Head-to-Head Playoff Stats

Miami Heat
VS
Denver Nuggets
112.2 (10th) Points per Game 116.4 (T-2nd)
108.8 (6th) Points Against per Game 108.1 (5th)
40.9 (11th) Rebounds Per Game 44.2 (7th)
47.1% (T-5th) Field Goal Shooting 49% (2nd)
46.1% (9th) Field Goal Shooting Defense 47.2% (11th)
38.5% (2nd) 3-Point Shooting 38.6% (1st)
33.2% (6th) 3-Point Shooting Defense 34.2% (7th)

Nuggets Crushed Competition in West

When Game 7 between the Heat and Celtics tipped off, it marked seven full days since the Denver Nuggets have played a game.

Denver made quick work of Minnesota in Round 1, then took the best of Kevin Durant and Devin Booker before dispatching the Suns in six games, before sweeping LeBron James and the Lakers.

It all starts with Jokic, whose playoff stats look fake: 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game on 53.8% shooting from the field and 47.4% from three-point range. The numbers are one thing, but it’s his ability to command the game and generate great looks for both himself and teammates that is so devastating.

It’s a big reason why the Nuggets are second in the playoffs in scoring (116.4 points), second in field goal shooting at 49% and a playoff-best 38.6% from three-point range.

The emergence of Jamal Murray has been a huge help. The Canadian was the second-best player in the West Finals, and has put up 27.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.1 assists on 48% shooting from the field and 39.8% from three these playoffs. Ditto the work of Michael Porter Jr, who is a supercharged third star, averaging 14.6 points and eight rebounds, while shooting 40.8% from three.

They’ve also been bulletproof at Ball Arena all playoffs, running a perfect 8-0 mark across three series.

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Opening Heat vs Nuggets Prediction

The Miami story is simply amazing, but if Anthony Davis — far and away the best defensive player in the playoffs — can’t handle Jokic, I don’t know how an undersized Adebayo and four guards/wings will be able to handle him.

Denver is 6-0 against the Heat over the last three years, and Jokic has been the main man, averaging 22.2 points, 12.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists.

Miami is the only team, however, to really get under his skin. Last season, Jokic was ejected for drilling then-Heat player Markieff Morris in retaliation for an elbow. It’s really the only history they have between the two franchises.

It’s always tough to bet against Butler, and the addition of Herro would give the Heat a formidable set of scoring wings, but this will be the best and most consistent team Miami will have faced this postseason — and they’ve knocked off the two best records in the NBA en route to the Finals.

Miami will need a split in Denver to start. Even if they do, I’d target the Nuggets to take this in five.

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