The Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets meet for Game 1 of their best-of-7 NBA Finals series Thursday at Ball Arena. Tip is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC). Below, we analyze BetMGM Sportsbook’s lines around the Heat vs. Nuggets odds, and make our expert NBA picks and predictions
The Heat averted a disaster of historic proportions on Monday, routing the Boston Celtics 103-84 in Game 7 at TD Garden as 7.5-point underdogs. Miami had a comfortable 3-0 series lead, but blew chances in closeout games at home in both Games 4 and 6 to fall into an untenable position. However, like the 150 series before it, no team has ever blown a 3-0 series lead.
The Nuggets didn’t have to work nearly as hard in the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Denver won 113-111 in Game 4 back on May 22 at Crypto.com Arena in Southern California to complete the series sweep. Denver has won 6 in a row overall, going 4-2 against the spread (ATS) in that run.
Denver won in 4 against the Lakers, in 6 against the Phoenix Suns and in 5 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, going 9-6 ATS in these playoffs. The Under is 4-2 in the last 6 outings. At home, the Nuggets are 8-0 straight up (SU) and 5-3 ATS in the postseason, while splitting the Over-Under 4-4.
Miami started out in the play-in tournament, splitting a pair of games at home while also going 1-1 ATS. They stunned the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks in 5 games, topped the New York Knicks in 6 games, and then the C’s in 7. On the road, the Heat are 6-4 SU and 7-3 ATS, with the Over going 7-3.
Denver won 112-108 in Miami on Feb. 3 as a 1-point favorite as the Over (217.5) cashed, while the Nuggets won 124-119 as a 4-point favorite on Dec. 30 in the Mile High City, also cashing the Over (224.5).
The good news is that both teams are healthy at this time of the series, listing no meaningful players on the injury report.
Heat at Nuggets odds
Provided by BetMGM Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub Lines last updated Wednesday at 11:45 p.m. ET.
- Moneyline (ML): Heat +290 (bet $100 to win $290) | Nuggets -375 (bet $375 to win $100)
- Against the spread (ATS): Heat +8.5 (-105) | Nuggets -8.5 (-115)
- Over/Under (O/U): 219.5 (O: -110 | U: -110)
Heat at Nuggets key injuries
For most recent updates: Official NBA injury report.
Heat at Nuggets picks and predictions
Nuggets 115, Heat 106
The Nuggets (-375) will cost you over 3 1/2 times your potential return, and that’s just way too much for any kind of standalone wager. Plus, there is concern with rust, as Denver has been off for 9 days since sweeping the Lakers, while the Heat (+290) played the full 7 games to dispatch the Celtics.
NUGGETS -8.5 115) is the lean, but go really, really lightly, and expect them to get off to a slower start early on.
Denver has had a full 9 days off, which is a curse, and a blessing. At this time of the season, any R&R is good news to heal the bumps and bruises of the grueling NBA regular season and postseason. However, there could also be some continuity problems early on, as it’s difficult to just flip a switch and get back to competitive mode.
The Heat +8.5 (-105) will not have a problem, because there is no switch. They just played Monday night in Boston, in front of a hostile crowd, so the competitive juices are still flowing and fresh.
I like the HEAT +5.5 (-110) – 1ST HALF LINE, as I think Miami is able to hang around, and perhaps even lead most of the 1st half. However, C Nikola Jokic has been on a mission, and not sure anyone on Miami can slow him down in the 2nd half once he gets cranked back up.
OVER 219.5110) is the lean, but I’d go lightly on all counts, as these teams feel each other out.
Not only was Denver 2-0 SU/ATS in the regular season series against Miami, but the Over cashed in each outing, too. The Over has connected in 4 straight meetings in the Mile High City, while hitting in 5 straight meetings in the series, too.
While the Under hit in the last 4 games for Miami, the Over is 4-0 in its last 4 when working on 2 or more days of rest. The Over is also 10-3 in the last 13 games on the road. The Over is 10-1 in the last 11 for th Nuggets when facing winning teams, and 6-1 in the last 7 when playing on 3 or more days of rest.
Check out: Game 1’s best prop bets and predictions