The Miami Heat entered the 2023 NBA Playoffs as an 8-seed, losing their first play-in game to the Atlanta Hawks. What followed was an improbable run that saw them knock off the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, the New York Knicks, and the Boston Celtics on their way to the NBA Finals.
The Denver Nuggets are the number-one seed in the Western Conference. They’ve progressed through the NBA Playoffs as projected, taking out the Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, and the surging Los Angeles Lakers in the process.
Led by all-star center Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets are atop the odds for betting on the NBA Finals with series prices that favor them across the board. If Denver wins, it will be their first NBA Championship in team history.
2023 NBA Finals Game 1 Betting Line
Miami Heat @ Denver Nuggets
- Point Spread: Heat +9.0, Nuggets -9.0
- Moneyline: Heat +295, -375
- Over/Under: 219.0
- *BetUS Sportsbook
Dating back to last October, the only two teams that held the top spot in the futures at online NBA sportsbooks were the Bucks and the Celtics, two squads that the Heat sent packing during the playoffs.
So, why isn’t Miami getting any respect against the Nuggets in the NBA Finals? Current series prices for the NBA Finals overwhelmingly favor Denver to win, with a -400 moneyline that suggests they’ve got an 80% chance of hoisting their first-ever Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
2023 NBA Finals Series Prices
- Heat Series Prices +320
- Nuggets Series Prices -400
Bettors that have stuck with Miami throughout the NBA Playoffs have been rewarded with handsome profits because they’ve held long odds during the entire run. The series is not projected to be a sweep, however, as the most likely outcomes include a 5 or 7-game Finals.
Number of Games in Series (Best of 7)
- 5 Games +215
- 7 Games +225
- 6 Games +240
- 4 Games +425
Miami got a strong performance out of Caleb Martin in the Eastern Conference Finals, and they’ll need a similar effort out of him against Denver. Miami’s lineup will soon get bolstered, as guard Tyler Herro is scheduled for a return by Game 3.
Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (hand fracture) is ramping up workouts and is expected to make his return at some point during NBA Finals with Game 3 being the likely target, league sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 30, 2023
Miami star Jimmy Butler believes the key to slowing down Jokic is to take a team defense approach.
“He does everything so well, and we’re going to have to be in the gaps, we’re going to have to gang rebound. We can’t have defensive lapses. We’re just going to have to get after it.”
Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat
The NBA Finals operates on a 2–2–1–1–1 format, meaning the higher seed gets to host the first two games. Herro’s addition to Miami’s lineup will indeed provide a spark, but it could be too little too late if the Heat are already in a two-game hole.
Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals tips off in Denver’s Ball Arena tonight at 8:30 PM and can be seen on ABC.