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The NBA Finals have arrived, with Denver set to host Miami for game 1 on Thursday night.
The Nuggets (No. 1 seed) enter the series on a hot streak after sweeping the Lakers in the Western Conference and losing only a combined three games in their victories over Phoenix and Minnesota.
Miami is also on a high note after blowing out the second-seeded Celtics in Boston Monday night during game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Heat also knocked off the top-seeded Bucks and Knicks (No. 5) en route to becoming the second No. 8 seed in history to reach the finals.
Murray over 4.5 rebounds Player prop
Strus under 2.5 threes Player prop
These odds from bet365 were correct at the time of writing.
Denver vs Miami – Game Predictions
Oddsmakers feature the Nuggets as heavy nine-point favorites and at 10/43 (-430) on the moneyline against the Heat (11/4, +275). The total is set at 219 points.
Bettors have placed 52% of their wagers on Miami to cover the spread and 94% of the money is on Denver to win outright. 90% of the money is on the score hit the over.
Prediction 1: Jamal Murray over 4.5 rebounds 20/31 (-155)
Many people have noticed how the 26-year-old has increased his scoring output this postseason, but he’s also done so in the rebounding category.
During the regular season, Murray averaged just four rebounds per game, but through 15 playoff games, he’s increased it to 5.47 per contest, which is nearly a full rebound more than the prop being provided by bet365 sportsbook.
The former No. 7 overall pick out of Kentucky has surpassed the 4.5 mark in 66.7% of postseason contests (10-of-15) so far. In all three series as noted below, Murray has averaged more than 4.5 boards per outing.
Murray’s series rebound averages
The point guard is averaging 39.1 minutes per game in the postseason. With books favoring Denver by nine, there is a chance of a blowout, which could lead to a reduction in playing time with him being pulled early. His stats below indicate he doesn’t lose significant minutes and it hasn’t affected his rebound production.
Murray rebounding stats (fewest minutes)
|Game 1 vs. Minnesota||33||8|
|Game 6 at Phoenix||35||4|
|Game 5 vs. Phoenix||37||5|
|Game 1 vs. Phoenix||37||5|
|Game 1 vs. Los Angeles||37||5|
|Game 3 at Minnesota||38||6|
Throughout the 15 postseason games, Murray only has played 38 or fewer minutes on six occasions. He surpassed 4.5 rebounds in 83.3% (5-of-6) of those contests and even grabbed eight boards when he played the fewest minutes in all of the playoffs (33 vs. Minnesota).
The 20/31 (-155) line provided by bet365 is much better than other books offering the over between 20/33 (-165) and 10/17 (-170).
Prediction 2: Max Strus under 2.5 three-pointers @ 20/33 (-165)
Max Strus struggled from three-point range during the Eastern Conference Finals by shooting 34.2% from beyond the arc.
In the series, Strus attempted just 5.4 threes per contest and made just 1.9, which is 1.1 lower than the three makes needed to beat the 2.5 prop offered.
During the final three games of the series, the DePaul product saw fewer minutes and averaged just 25.7 during that span.
Strus’ odds at 20/33 (-165) at bet365 are more valuable than other platforms listing him at 10/19 (-190).
It’s a little surprising the line isn’t even worse for the 27-year-old due to the fact he’s failed to surpass 2.5 threes in 13 of the 18 appearances (72.2%) during the 2022-2023 playoffs.
In the Eastern Conference Finals, Strus only attempted more than five shots from downtown on one occasion.
Strus’ 3-point stats against Boston
|Game||3 PT FGs||3 PT FG %|
The Hickory Hills, Illinois native has only attempted more than six three-pointers in six of the 18 postseason outings. If he were to shoot around five or six on Thursday, he would need to shoot 50% or better from the field in order to beat the prop (35.2% 3PT FG in playoffs).
In the opening series against Milwaukee, Strus only attempted 3.4 three-pointers per game and averaged just 1.4 makes.
Nuggets vs Heat: Who takes game 1?
The Nuggets have had 10 days of rest leading up to game 1 and are 6-1 straight up in their last seven home games against the Heat.
Michael Malone’s squad is currently the favorite to win the NBA title at 5/23 (-460) odds. This is the organization’s first finals appearance.
Denver Nuggets Injury Report:
Collin Gillespie has been ruled out with a leg injury.
Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup:
Jamal Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon and Nikola Jokic
Jokic has led the team during the postseason in points (29.9), rebounds (13.3), and assists (10.3). Murray is second in points (27.7) and assists per game (6.1).
Miami’s odds to win the NBA Finals are 7/2 (+350). The organization last made it in 2020 but fell to Los Angeles in six games.
Miami Heat Injury Report:
Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo have been ruled out. Herro is attempting to return for game 3.
Miami Heat Predicted Starting Lineup:
Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love and Bam Adebayo
Butler has performed well in the 2022-2023 playoffs and leads the team in points per game (28.5), assists (5.7) and steals (2.1).
Nuggets vs Heat Head-to-Head Record In 2023
Denver leads Miami in head-to-head matchups 2-0 this season.
Denver vs Miami Game Details
Date & Time: Friday, June 02 at 01:30 a.m. GMT (Thursday, June 01, 8:30 p.m. ET)
Venue: Ball Arena – Denver, Colorado
Where to watch the match in the UK: Sky Sports (TV), FuboTV or another live stream
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