NBA Finals Odds: Heat vs. Nuggets in Game 1 Analysis, Trends and Prediction

NBA Finals Odds: Heat vs. Nuggets in Game 1 Analysis, Trends and Prediction

The Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets have never met in the playoffs but that changes on Thursday night when the Nuggets host the Heat in Game 1 of the NBA finals with Denver as a solid favorite on the NBA odds.


Heat vs. Nuggets Game 1 | 2023 NBA Finals Expert Analysis


How to Bet Miami at Denver NBA Odds & TV Info

When: Thursday, 8:30 PM ET
Where: Ball Arena
Stream: ESPN+
Radio: ESPN Radio
NBA Odds: Nuggets -9 (total 219)


Season Series

Denver won both regular-season matchups by a total of nine points. Miami is 34-38 all-time versus Denver during the regular season, including 20-15 in home games and 14-23 in road games. It’s the first NBA Finals appearance for the Nuggets. The Heat make their seventh NBA Finals appearance, recording a 3-3 series record with NBA championships in 2006, 2012 and 2013.


Why Bet on Miami?

Starting guard Tyler Herro hasn’t played since Game 1 of Round 1 vs. Milwaukee due to a hand injury but could return by Game 3 of this series, which would be Miami’s first home game of the series. Herro was Miami’s second-best offensive player in the regular season, averaging 20.7 points per game in his first year as a starter. In his absence, Gabe Vincent and Caleb Martin have picked up the load as scorers, and the Heat would not have reached the Finals without them.

Caleb Martin was blisteringly hot Monday in the Game 7 upset in Boston, hitting 11-of-16 shots for 26 points and adding 10 rebounds. Martin was feeling it all evening, and he hit four of his six three-point attempts while finishing behind only Jimmy Butler (28 points) for team lead in scoring. The 26 points were the most by an undrafted player in a Game 7 victory in NBA history.

Martin had his coming out party in the Eastern Conference Finals, averaging 19.3 points and 6.4 rebounds. Martin scored 135 points in the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston, the most points by an undrafted player in Conference Finals history and the third-most by an undrafted player in any series in league history. Martin shot 60.2 percent from the field in the series, becoming just the fourth player to post at least those numbers in a postseason series. Additionally, Martin has now scored 254 points this postseason, the third-most by an undrafted player in a single postseason in NBA history.

Butler averaged 24.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists in the seven-game series, avenging a loss to Boston in Game 7 of the ECF exactly one year ago. He was named MVP of the East Finals. Butler has recorded eight 40-point playoff games in his career, helping Miami to a 7-1 record in those games.

The Heat’s defense has held teams to under 50 percent from the field in 14 of their 18 playoff games, including under 40 percent from three-point range 13 times. Miami leads all teams this postseason in deflections (285), loose balls recovered (110) and charges taken (21).

This marks Erik Spoelstra’s sixth NBA Finals appearance as head coach, tying for the fourth-most by any coach in NBA history (he was also an assistant on the 2006 championship team). The Heat are the 2nd 8 seed to reach the Finals, joining the Knicks in 1999.

Bet Heat to Win Today
MyBookie Betting Lines for the Game


Why Bet on Denver?

The Nuggets are the 4th team to reach the Finals and never face a team with a win percentage of .550 or above in that postseason, joining the 1956 Warriors, 1957 Celtics and 1959 Celtics. It’s the first time reaching the NBA Finals (94 playoff wins are the most in NBA history prior to 1st Finals app) for the Nuggets.

West top-seeded Denver has been off since sweeping out the Lakers in the West Finals on May 22. Nikola Jokic turned in 30 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists. Jokic posted a triple-double in three of the four games against the Lakers and now has eight such performances this postseason, a record. Jokic is the 2nd player to average a triple-double in multiple playoff series in a single postseason, joining Wilt Chamberlain in 1967.

Jokic & Jamal Murray have each scored 25 pts in the same game seven times this postseason. That’s tied for the 2nd-most by any duo entering the Finals in NBA history: 2020 James & Davis LAL: 8; 2023 Jokic & Murray DEN: 7; 2012 Durant & Westbrook OKC: 7; 1968 Baylor & West LAL: 7.

Denver has outscored their opponents by 125 points, the best mark for a Finals team through the first three rounds in the last five years. It is the only team that hasn’t lost at home (8-0) in the playoffs. No team has ever won more than 10 playoff home games without a loss, with the four 10-0 teams (all champions) being the 1977 Blazers, the ’86 Celtics, the ’87 Lakers and the ’96 Bulls.

The Nuggets lead the playoffs in time of possession at 22.4 minutes per game and have been at their best in the first quarter (+11.8 points per 100 possessions). They are 10-0 when leading by double-digits, 3-3 when trailing by double-digits, and 7-3 (best in the playoffs) in games that were within five points in the last five minutes.

Their 119.7 points scored per 100 possessions are the most efficient offense a team has had through three rounds of the playoffs in the last six years (since the Cavs scored 122.1 through three rounds in 2017). The Nuggets have scored 123.1 points per 100 possessions with Jokic on the floor. That’s the best on-court mark among 94 players who’ve averaged at least 10 minutes in six games or more.

Bet Nuggets to Win Today
MyBookie Betting Lines for the Game


Game Trends

  • Heat are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up win.
  • Heat are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
  • Heat are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 road games.
  • Nuggets are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
  • Nuggets are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games.
  • Heat are 9-25 ATS in the last 34 meetings.

Expert Prediction

Nuggets 116, Heat 109


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