The NBA Finals will finally be under way, and the Denver Nuggets are ready to make their maiden voyage in the championship round. The Nuggets ran away with the top seed in the Western Conference during the regular season and swept the Lakers in a dominant Western Conference Finals performance.
The Miami Heat were nearly eliminated from the playoffs during the play-in tournament. However, the Heat have slowly battled their way through the Eastern Conference playoffs, leaning on their experience and strong structure to reach the finals.
Will Miami bring home its fourth championship or will Denver celebrate its first appearance with its first crown? Check out the MyBookie NBA lines for the first game of the NBA Finals.
NBA Finals Game 1 Odds and Analysis | MyBookie Basketball Betting Previews
2023 NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV
When: Thursday, 8:30 PM ET
Where: Ball Arena | Denver, Colorado
NBA Odds: Nuggets -9 (total 219)
Up in the Air
Beat Denver will require Miami to win at least one game on the road. That’s not something the Nuggets have allowed to happen much this season. Denver was 34-7 during the regular season at home and in the playoffs, the Nuggets put together a 8-0 record on their home floor.
Some people attribute Denver’s home success to opponents being unfamiliar with the altitude. The Nuggets play well above sea level and have to deal with the change can be difficult for some opponents to keep up with.
Jokic will Be Big Factor for the Nuggets
Nikola Jokic has sometimes been criticized for his tendency to look to set up teammates instead of scoring himself. However, this postseason Jokic has put many of those criticisms behind him. Jokic is averaging 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game for the Nuggets. His versatility will prevent Miami with a number of issues when trying to defend him.
Jokic also has the benefit of having guard Jamal Murray alongside him. Murray has also been averaging more than 20 points per game in the postseason. While Denver doesn’t have a deep bench, focusing on Jokic won’t be easy for Miami.
Does the Glass Slipper still Fit Jimmy Butler and the Heat?
While there is no denying that Miami’s postseason run has been extraordinary, the Heat gave few signs they were capable of such a run during the regular season. Miami only finished six games above .500 and was only 17-24 away from home. The Heat are a strong defensive team and have seen their role players step up in the postseason.
Butler leads five active players who have scored in double figures in the playoffs at 28.5 points per game. Victor Oladipo and Tyler Herro are also averaging in double figures in the postseason, but both players have been limited to a combined three games of action due to injuries. There is a chance that Herro could return to the lineup as soon as Game 3.
Denver will have its hands full to generate clean shots, but should be able to use its home-court advantage to grab a win in Game 2. The Nuggets don’t want to give Miami any momentum as the series swings back to South Beach.
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NBA Game 1 Pick: Denver | Bet Heat vs. Nuggets Today
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