Betting | May 30, 2023

2023 NBA Finals: Nuggets vs Heat Predictions, Odds & Schedule

By Harry Bazley

USATSI 19991152

The NBA Finals are set! On Thursday night at 8:30 pm ET, the Denver Nuggets will take on the Miami Heat in the first game of the Finals for a chance to win it all.

Before we get into our breakdown and prediction, first let's take a look back at how both teams fared in the playoffs so far.

Nuggets vs Lakers Recap

The Nuggets swept the Los Angeles Lakers with ease in a 4-0 series victory that left the league stunned. Now, most of the experts predicted Denver to dominate, but not quite like this.

As the top seed in the western conference, the Nuggets put together one of the greatest offenses we've ever seen in the NBA playoffs and regular season alike. Nikola Jokic (15) and Jamal Murray (27) combined to be an unstoppable scoring machine, while the likes of Aaron Gordon and KCP took over the boards.

Heat vs Celtics Recap

Meanwhile, the Miami Heat closed out a rocky series in the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday night with a 4-3 win over the Boston Celtics.

After taking a 3-0 lead, Boston pushed back to take it to a 7-game showdown. Many of us thought this could have been the first ever 3-0 comeback in NBA history, but Miami managed to hold things together for their final matchup with a convincing 103-84 victory.

Jimmy Butler took home the series MVP scoring 28 points on Monday night to secure the win, alongside Caleb Martin, logging an impressive supporting act with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Two clutch players that will be hard for Denver to stop.

NBA Finals Odds

The sportsbooks currently have Denver as the sports betting favorites to win the NBA Championship.

Heat vs Nuggets Odds: Finals Outright Betting (FanDuel)

  • Denver Nuggets: -480

  • Miami Heat: +330

Don't forget to check out the best odds for each of the series games by heading to our NBA odds comparison page.

NBA Finals Prediction

When it comes to the matchup, it's tough to predict what will be the deciding factor in the series. Will we see Butler clutch up in another moment of playoff magic? Or will Jokic continue to dominate up and down the court?

Well, our money is on Denver, and here's why...

Perhaps the biggest hope for Miami is catching fire from deep. The Nuggets currently rank 7th in defense, highlighted by performances like their Suns matchups, where we witnessed them giving up 121 and 129 points in back-to-back games against Phoenix. The 3-point proficiency of Butler and co. is certainly something to be studied and could expose the weaknesses for Denver, but if they fail outside the arc, we could see a slow scoreboard for Miami.

Meanwhile, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will try to cook up some exotic defenses to battle 'The Joker', but with Denver leading the league in offensive efficiency, this will be a challenge to say the least. Truly locking down Jokic with a simple 1-on-1 matchup won't be enough. Miami will need to take risks that may not pay off if they really want to stop number 15. You could argue that a two-man matchup of Butler on Jokic and Adebayo on Murray, but the big trouble comes with Jokic dwarfing Jimmy in the paint.

Butler may be averaging a career high 28.5 points per game in these playoffs, but no one else is hitting more than 17. On the other hand, Jokic is contributing 29.9 ppg, Murray is scoring 27.7 and a total of 6 Nuggets are logging double-digits on the scoreboard.

The bottom line:

Denver's 1-2 punch alongside a strong supporting cast will be too much for the Heat to handle, while Miami's reliance on Butler will come back to haunt them. They'll put up a good fight and it won't be a blowout, but Denver should take the title without too much trouble.

Our prediction: Nuggets in 6

So, with all that being said, who have you got your money on? Do you think The Joker will continue to dominate? Or will we see more classic playoff moments from Jimmy Butler? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter & Instagram.

Full Schedule

Date Game Matchup Time (ET)
Jun-01 Game 1 Heat at Nuggets 8:30 p.m.
Jun-04 Game 2 Heat at Nuggets 8 p.m.
Jun-07 Game 3 Nuggets at Heat 8:30 p.m.
Jun-09 Game 4 Nuggets at Heat 8:30 p.m.
Jun-12 Game 5* Heat at Nuggets 8:30 p.m.
Jun-15 Game 6* Nuggets at Heat 8:30 p.m.
Jun-18 Game 7* Heat at Nuggets 8 p.m.

(Header Image Credit: Sam Navarro - USA TODAY Sports)