According to the latest odds, the Denver Nuggets are the favorites to win, with a -400 chance of raising the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. They are also -8.5 favorites to win Game 1.
Newark’s own Bam Adebayo is a key player for the Heat, and he and teammate Jimmy Butler will have the crucial task of stopping the Nuggets and their star players Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. The game will take place at Ball Arena on Thursday night at 8:30 pm.
Heat stave off Boston
Despite being the 8th seed in the East, Miami has been on fire in the playoffs. They’ve already defeated the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks in five games, took down the New York Knicks in six games, and eliminated the No. 2 seed Boston Celtics in seven games, with three of their wins on the Celtics floor.
No matter how the season went, we always stayed focus on The Main Thing. 4 more. pic.twitter.com/pLyv7SS85M
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 30, 2023
Unfortunately, injuries have hurt Miami, with Kevin Love missing the final two games of the Celtics series and Jimmy Butler nursing a sore ankle. Gabe Vincent and Caleb Miller have nagging injuries they are dealing with but Tyler Herro could potentially be activated for this series.
Butler has been the team’s leader throughout the playoffs, averaging an impressive 28.5 points per game with seven rebounds and nearly six assists. He’s been the heart and soul of Miami. Bam Adebayo has been averaging 16 points per game with nine rebounds, but has also been struggling with a team-high 2.8 turnovers per contest. Miller and Vincent have both been making a significant impact on both ends of the floor as well.
Denver dominates Western Conference playoffs
It’s impressive how Denver has been dominating the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the West. They’ve already defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, and Los Angeles Lakers with ease.
What’s even more amazing is that they’ve been able to do it without any injury issues and a healthy roster.
Coach on Nikola being picked 41st. pic.twitter.com/TsLR18R0gk
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) May 26, 2023
Jokic and Murray have been a dynamic duo throughout the playoffs. Jokic, a two-time league MVP and this year’s runner-up, has been averaging a triple-double and shooting an impressive 48% from downtown.
Meanwhile, Murray has been averaging 27.5 points, 5.5 boards, and 6.5 dimes. Michael Porter Jr has also been contributing with an average of 14 points and eight rebounds, and Aaron Gordon has been knocking down some crucial three-pointers.
Miami Heat vs. Denver Nuggets Best Bet: Miami Heat +9 -110 Caesars
Miami is 13-5 ATS during their playoff run and my best bet is Miami Heat +9 -110 (Caesars).
Miami may be banged up, but they’ve been doing a fantastic job covering the spread in the playoffs, going 5-2 ATS against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. Unlike Denver, who hasn’t played in 10 days, Miami won’t have to worry about any rust.
Miami’s defense is superior to Denver’s and they’ll need to bring their A-game to keep up with the Nuggets’ impressive offense. Denver’s 9-6 ATS record in the postseason pales in comparison to Miami’s grit and toughness on the defensive end against the postseason’s best-scoring team.
Reserves like Martin, Vincent, and Lowry will need to step up and perform better than Porter, Gordon, Caldwell-Pope, and Brown. But, Miami has the advantage of being the best three-point shooting team in the playoffs and if they continue their impressive long-range shooting while maintaining their stifling defense, they’ll easily cover the +9 against Denver.