Heat vs Nuggets Prediction & Best Bets for NBA Finals Game 2
The Denver Nuggets went into the NBA Finals heavily favored over the Miami Heat, and they showed why on Thursday night in an impressive Game 1 win at Ball Arena. Can the Heat respond in Game 2 on Sunday (8:00 pm ET, ABC)?
Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray have been a devastating duo throughout the postseason, and they were again in Game 1. Jokic tallied 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 14 assists, posting his ninth triple-double of this year’s playoffs, while Murray put up 26 points, ten assists, and six rebounds.
Will Sunday’s matchup see Denver cruise to another win and a 2-0 series lead? Read on for our Heat vs Nuggets Game 2 prediction and best bets.
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Before we offer up our prediction and picks for Game 2, let’s take a look at the odds for the game, as well as updated NBA Finals odds.
Miami Heat vs Denver Nuggets Odds
- Miami Heat +8.5 (-110)
- Denver Nuggets -8.5 (-110)
- Over 214.5 (-110)
- Under 214.5 (-110)
- Miami Heat +295
- Denver Nuggets -370
Odds to Win the 2023 NBA Finals (Following Game 1)
- Miami Heat +550
- Denver Nuggets -800
Can the Nuggets Be Stopped?
Based on current evidence, Miami is in a world of trouble.
The Heat are where they are in part to strong starts. In their three previous series against the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, and Boston Celtics, they won Game 1 on the road.
Also, after three games of each series, they held a lead ahead of a Game 4 at home. Having a 2-1 series lead isn’t a guarantee of success, but across the major American team sports, teams with a 2-1 series lead in a best-of-seven series win the majority of the time.
The Heat have been quite the resilient, defiant bunch on their run to the NBA Finals, and Thursday’s game is just one game, after all.
But they were no closer than six points in the final 40 minutes, 39 seconds of Game 1, and they spent most of the final three quarters trailing by double digits. The final margin of 11 points was rather generous, as the Nuggets didn’t keep their foot on the gas after leading by as many as 24 points in the third quarter.
This wasn’t even an A+ performance from the Nuggets, either. Entering the NBA Finals, they were shooting 38.6% from three. But in Game 1, they were only 8 of 27 (29.6%) from outside.
Murray, who entered the Finals hitting his threes at a clip of 39.8% in the postseason, made only two of his seven attempts in Game 1. And Michael Porter Jr., who was shooting 40.8% from three entering the Finals, was just 2 of 11 from deep in Game 1.
Also, the Nuggets ran away with the win even with Jokic taking only a dozen shots from the field. Prior to Game 1, he had averaged 21.2 field goal attempts in the playoffs and had taken fewer than 15 shots only twice in 15 games.
The last time Jokic had taken fewer than 15 shots while playing at least 40 minutes was Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Los Angeles Clippers in 2020, when he was 5 of 13 from the field in Denver’s series-clinching win.
Miami Heat vs Denver Nuggets Prediction and Best Bets
Prediction for Heat vs Nuggets: Nuggets to win
Best Bets for Heat vs Nuggets: Nuggets -8.5 & Nuggets team total over 111.5 points
Well, if there is one thing to perhaps look positively upon, it’s the fact that the Heat have been held under 100 points in consecutive games only once thus far in this year’s playoffs, in their losses in Games 4 and 5 against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.
So, based on that and the fact that they have scored 100+ points in 17 of 21 games in the postseason (including both play-in tournament games), the Heat are likely to score a bit more than they did in Game 1.
So, that’s good. Unfortunately, that improved offensive output is likely to come in another loss.
The Nuggets have not gone back-to-back games without making at least ten threes in the playoffs, and they are shooting 39.2% from three at home.
Also, the Nuggets are now 9-0 SU and 6-3-0 ATS at home in the playoffs, and six of those nine home wins (and nine of their 13 overall wins in the playoffs) have come by at least nine points.
What the Heat have done to get to this point can’t be discounted, and I don’t expect them to go quietly in this series. But it’s going to take a lot for them to win in Denver, and I don’t see them doing it on Sunday or if the series returns to Ball Arena.
Best Player Prop Bets for Heat vs Nuggets
- Jamal Murray over 26.5 points
- Jamal Murray over 3.5 made threes
Despite being off from outside, Murray still scored 25 or more points for the sixth straight game and the 11th time in this year’s playoffs. A 30-point game (which would be his eighth this postseason) and four or more made threes (for the ninth time this postseason) is around the corner.
Where to Bet on the 2023 NBA Finals
Here are some sports betting sites that we highly recommend and have reviewed, where you can bet on this year’s NBA Finals.
This is obviously a very popular time of year for NBA betting, and you can get in on the action at any of the top sports betting sites out there.
But these books are all reputable names, and you can trust them with your betting funds.
Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade and has been with Betting News since 2021. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter.
This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Betting News makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.
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