The 2023 NBA Finals open on Thursday evening at Ball Arena. The Denver Nuggets host the Miami Heat for Game 1 of a best-of-seven matchup, with the championship on the line. Denver is 12-3 in playoff action after earning the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, and the Nuggets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers via sweep in the Western Conference finals. Miami needed seven games to beat the Boston Celtics, reaching the championship round as the No. 8 seed in the East.
Tipoff is at 8:30 p.m. ET in Denver. Caesars Sportsbook lists Denver as the 8.5-point home favorite, while the over/under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 219 in the latest Heat vs. Nuggets odds. 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 -8.5
- Heat vs. Nuggets over/under: 219 points
- Heat vs. Nuggets money line: Nuggets -400, Heat +310
- 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
Miami’s defense is a potential X-factor, with intriguing cohesion and effectiveness. The Heat have scored well in the 2023 NBA playoffs, producing more than 1.16 points per possession, but everything starts on the other end with a group anchored by Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. The Heat held the Celtics to a season-low 84 points in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, and Miami has allowed only 111.5 points per 100 possessions in the postseason. No team is scoring more points off turnovers (19.3 per game) than Miami during the playoffs, and the Heat are averaging 7.4 steals per contest.
Opponents are also struggling to make shots against Miami, converting only 45.7% of field goal attempts and 32.5% of 3-point attempts, and Boston made only 30.3% of 3-point offerings in the last round. The Heat are also giving up only 22.5 assists and 44.8 points in the paint per game, and Miami posted top-tier marks on defense during the regular season, including top-four rankings in free throw prevention, defensive rebounding, turnover creation and points allowed in the paint. See which team to pick here.
Why the Nuggets can cover
Denver has a massive rest advantage to begin the series, with Miami needing seven games to beat Boston and the Nuggets defeating the Lakers in four games. In addition, the Nuggets have the benefit of home-court advantage, and Denver dominates at Ball Arena. After a tremendous regular season at home, the Nuggets are 8-0 in Denver during the playoffs, out-scoring opponents by 11.6 points per 100 possessions.
Denver also has the best five-man unit in the NBA this season, with the combination of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leading the league in net rating (+13.1) during the regular season and leading the playoffs with 120.7 points per 100 possessions when playing together. Denver is also tremendous overall on the offensive end, sitting atop the league with 119.7 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs. That includes NBA-leading numbers in points in the paint, turnover rate, and true shooting percentage, with the deadly combination of Jokic and Murray leading the way. 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.