The Denver Nuggets will make their NBA Finals debut as a franchise on Thursday night when they host the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals. Denver swept the Lakers in the Western Conference finals after winning the last two games of its semifinal series against Phoenix. Miami became the second No. 8 seed to reach the NBA Finals when it recovered after nearly blowing a 3-0 series lead against Boston, winning on the road in Game 7. Tyler Herro (hand) remains out for Miami.
Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET at Ball Arena in Denver. The Nuggets are 9-point favorites while the over/under is 219 in the latest Heat vs. Nuggets odds from Caesars Sportsbook. Before locking in any Nuggets vs. Heat picks, you need to see the NBA playoff predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's advanced computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past four-plus seasons. The model enters the 2023 NBA Finals a stunning 72-38 on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning nearly $2,900. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.
Now, the model has set its sights on Heat vs. Nuggets and just locked in its picks and NBA Finals predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model's picks. Here are several NBA betting lines and trends for Nuggets vs. Heat:
- Heat vs. Nuggets spread: Nuggets -9
- Heat vs. Nuggets over/under: 219 points
- Heat vs. Nuggets money line: Nuggets -385, Heat +300
- MIA: The Heat are 22-27-1 against the spread in road games
- DEN: The Nuggets are 30-18-1 against the spread in home games
- Heat vs. Nuggets picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why the Heat can cover
Denver has not played a game since May 22, so it might have to knock off some rust on Thursday night. Miami played a grueling series against Boston, but it has been able to rest since Monday to get ready for this series. Caleb Martin scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Game 7 against the Celtics, averaging 19.3 points per game in the Eastern Conference finals.
Martin knocked down at least three 3-pointers in five different games against Boston, shooting a red-hot 49% from beyond the arc. The Heat also have superstar Jimmy Butler, who is averaging 28.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in the playoffs. Butler and Miami have experience playing in the NBA Finals, while Denver is in the championship series for the first time as a franchise. The Heat have covered the spread in 12 of their last 16 games overall and have won five of their last six games against Western Conference opponents. See which team to pick here.
Why the Nuggets can cover
After making a trip to the Western Conference Finals in the NBA bubble three seasons ago, the Nuggets have had two disappointing playoff exits in a row despite having league MVP Jokic leading the way. This year, Jokic ceded the MVP to Joel Embiid but he's been even better about getting his teammates involved, and with a healthy Jamal Murray showing us that his 2020 NBA bubble performance was no fluke, there's finally help.
Jokic enters Game 1 averaging 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game in the postseason with five triple-doubles in his last six contests. Meanwhile, Murray is scoring 27.7 points per game with shooting slashes of 48/39.8/92.5. This has been a team on a mission to get an all-time great a title he has richly deserved and they've been particularly focused at home, winning all eight games by an average margin of 12 points. See which team to pick here.
How to make Nuggets vs. Heat picks
SportsLine's model is leaning Over on the total, projecting 220 combined points. The model also says one side of the spread hits well over 50% of the time. You can only see the model's NBA playoff picks at SportsLine.
So who wins Heat vs. Nuggets, and which side of the spread hits well over 50% of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Nuggets vs. Heat spread you need to jump on, all from the model that is 72-38 on top-rated NBA picks this season, and find out.