The Miami Heat were able to escape Boston with a Game 7 win and have been rewarded with an even tougher matchup with the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA Finals. The Nuggets have been waiting for their opponent for over a week, and now they will come together at Ball Arena in Denver for Game 1 on Thursday, June 1st. The Nuggets enter the series as the massive favorites to win it all and are also big-time moneyline favorites on most NBA betting sites and betting apps to protect home court in Game 1.
Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat NBA Finals Game 1 Odds
- Denver last played on May 22nd when they completed a sweep of the Lakers
- Miami is the first No. 8 seed to reach the NBA Finals since 1999
- Jimmy Butler, Nikola Jokic, and Jamal Murray are all top 10 in playoff scoring
Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat NBA Odds - June 1st, 830PM EST
The Denver Nuggets have a massive seven-day rest advantage for Game 1, and they’ve gone 18-4 when they have a rest advantage this season, best in the NBA. Miami, meanwhile, has been middle of the pack with a rest disadvantage, going just 8-9 in those situations. Denver also comes into the series as -357 odds favorites to win it all, making them the second biggest favorites going into an NBA Finals series behind only the 2018 Golden State Warriors. All odds provided by Betway.
Denver Nuggets Odds Analysis
The Denver Nuggets have been having a very dominant postseason, going 12-3 so far while beating teams by an average of 12 points per game. They have the best offensive rating in these playoffs at 119.7 and have been led by the best player in basketball at the moment, center Nikola Jokic.
Jokic has put up a 50-piece, a 40-ball, and he’s triple-doubled in eight of his team’s 15 playoff games. From the center position the Big Cevapi has managed to lead the playoffs with 154 assists, over 50 more than the next closest player. He’s also fifth in scoring with 29.9 and has been about as efficient as you could ask for, putting up a shooting line of 54/47/78.
There’s positively no way that Miami’s “big man”, the 6’9” Bam Adebayo, has watched Jokic play during this postseason and thought, “Yeah, I can stop that guy.” Jokic should be having a field day during this series with the sore lack of size that Miami has displayed whether they try to double him or not.
Jamal Murray has been everything Jokic could ask for in a sidekick, taking over a few games by himself and averaging 27.7 points per game on a 48/40/92 shooting line. Miami has some scrappy guys that could draw the Murray assignment, but none of them really have the size and speed combination to really be a Blue Arrow stopper apart from Jimmy Butler.
On the wings, the likes of Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon, both of whom are 6’8” or taller, will be getting mismatches all series long. Apart from Butler, Miami only has one wing player, Duncan Robinson, who stands taller than 6’5” which means that MPJ and Gordon should be able to shoot over the top and finish at the rim with ease over these smaller defenders.
The bench of the Nuggets will be tough for Miami to contend with as well. Head coach Michael Malone has experience and savvy from guys like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jeff Green, and energy and effort from other guys like Bruce Brown and rookie Christian Braun.
Miami Heat Odds Analysis
The Miami Heat have not lost a Game 1 yet in these playoffs despite having played all of their series openers on the road. That will be the case again here against the Nuggets, who have yet to lose in the thin air up at Ball Arena in Denver, posting a pristine 9-0 record so far in their own gym.
Clearly head coach Erik Spoelstra and the Heat have been good at coming out strong and punching higher-ranked teams in the mouth. The only question at this point is, do they—and the 33-year-old Jimmy Butler specifically—still have enough left in the tank to challenge a team as well-rounded and well-coached as the Nuggets.
The Heat don’t play at a very fast pace, but they might need to mix that up against the Nuggets. The only way that Miami can really surprise Denver is if they clamp down defensively and create turnovers that lead to easy buckets going the other way. No team has scored more points off of turnover in these playoffs than Miami, who put up 19.3 a game in that category.
The Heat have been having a three-point shooting renaissance in these playoffs after finishing with the fourth-worst three-point percentage during the regular season. They’ve completely flipped that in the postseason as they have shot the long ball at 40 percent, better than any other team. The Nuggets have allowed just 9.9 triples to their opponents in the playoffs, third-fewest, so that battle on the Miami three-point line should be an interesting and very telling one.
Alex is a recent graduate of Ryerson's Sport Media program in 2019 and has been contributing to BettingTop10 since 2020. He has worked in the field of sports and sports betting for several years, including stops writing for theScore and daily fantasy sports website FantasyPros as one of the lead NBA news writers. A dedicated sports fan and experienced sports bettor, Alex has the knowledge to provide you with the best betting advice and the sneakiest props no matter what the sport may be.