The Miami Heat were able to find themselves on the right side of history when they punched their ticket to the NBA Finals to face off against the Denver Nuggets. The Eastern Conference Finals were a rollercoaster ride for Miami, who got up 3-0, then lost three in a row, then won Game 7 on the road in Boston.
Are the Nuggets the far superior team? They’re favored to win at BetAnySports.eu but are they the right bet to bring home the ring?
Betting Miami Heat
The first and biggest factor for the Heat as they enter this series is Jimmy Butler. So far in this postseason, Butler has averaged 28.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. He’s been the leader both on the floor and in the locker room for this gritty team. If he can find a rhythm again after ending the Eastern Conference Finals cold, Miami will immediately have a shot.
However, while he gets much of the shine, it’s obviously not just him. There is going to be a serious question as to how their undrafted players can show up on the biggest stage of their careers. Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, and Gabe Vincent are all undrafted players who play large roles on this roster. While they’ve continued to show up in big moments, they’ve never played on a stage this important yet.
Then finally, Miami will await the return of their starting guard Tyler Herro.
Herro was injured at the very beginning of the first round against the Milwaukee Bucks and hasn’t returned since. This team expects him back by Game 3, though it’s a wonder if he actually gets thrust back into the lineup. If Miami starts this series hot, would they change the rotation up and throw Herro back into the mix? Would he be a huge boost, or would he kill their momentum and chemistry? It could be a huge shot in the arm to get this 20+ points per game scorer back in the lineup at this point in the season.
Betting Denver Nuggets
First things first, who can stop Nikola Jokic? He’s been an unstoppable force throughout the postseason, averaging 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds, 10.3 assists, and 1.1 steals a night. It hasn’t mattered who is thrust upon him, he’s finding the open man or scoring points with ease. Denver has a serious matchup advantage here with Jokic being so versatile.
He’ll likely force Miami center Bam Adebayo to play extended minutes all series and if he gets into foul trouble, Miami finds may not hang around in this series long. Jokic would easily pick apart one of either Cody Zeller or Kevin Love, one of which would come in to replace Adebayo if anything happens.
Jamal Murray Phenomenal Shooting
Another factor is Jamal Murray. Murray has been his own force in the playoffs, dropping 27.7 points per game on phenomenal shooting. He’s knocking down 48 percent of his field goals, 40 percent of his three-pointers, and 92 percent of his free throws. When Jokic needs a rest or gets doubled, Murray becomes his own beacon of offense for Denver. And that’s where it feels like Denver has the edge: they have two stars leading the way while the Heat are Butler-reliant.
At the same time, the Heat have to figure out how to defend Butler. He’ll likely take on Aaron Gordon, who did a good job in the past few rounds in difficult defensive matchups. If he has trouble though, Denver will struggle to find another answer to man him straight up.
Lastly, you should pay attention to the Nuggets’ recent rest. They swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, but the Heat went to seven games with the Boston Celtics in the ECF. Denver hasn’t played a basketball game in 10 days now, the fourth time in history a team has gotten that much of a break before the NBA Finals. Head coach Michael Malone has already talked about conditioning being a concern entering Game 1. We’ll see if this gives the Heat an edge for Game 1 where they can make an early statement in the series.
Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat Pick
Nuggets In 5.
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