Miami Heat vs. Denver Nuggets Game 1 Prediction, NBA Odds

Edgar Chaput | Updated May 31, 2023

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Miami Heat

The long road to glory requires only one last step. Game 1 of the NBA Finals is Thursday night between the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets.

June 01, 2023, 8:30 PM ET
Pepsi Center
Pointspread +9 -110
Moneyline +275
Over / Under o +219
Pointspread -9 -110
Moneyline -355
Over / Under u +219

The top seed in the West and the lowest seed in the East will compete for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. The NBA Finals get underway in Colorado for Games 1 and 2 on Thursday and Sunday night.

The NBA experts like the Nuggets so much in Game 1 that they’ve currently pegged Denver as a -9.0 favourite on the odds. As for the total, it’s set at 219.5.

Heat vs. Nuggets NBA Finals Betting Odds

It feels safe to argue that this matchup feels nothing like the ones that occurred during the regular season. Denver and Miami haven’t clashed since February 13 when the Nuggets won away 112-108, earning themselves a two-game season sweep over the Heat. Three and a half months have changed so much.

Even so, the series table has the Nuggets at -455 to win it all, with the Heat pinned at +325. The most likely outcome is Denver in five (+238). Miami’s best lowest price point is +743 for a 4-2 series victory.

Why nobody mentions that the Heat were the number one seed in the Eastern Conference a year ago and made it to the conference final is a mystery. They were a darn good team a season ago and still are today. They’re coached by the brilliant Erik Spoelstra and led on the court by Jimmy Butler. Keep in mind that the team is 5-1 in their past six games as underdogs. A +9.0 spread won’t bother them.

As for the Denver Nuggets, they’ve finally made it. The franchise has never partaken in an NBA Finals, and what better group of players to accomplish the feat with than this one? After so many frustrating postseason exists, either because the club underperformed or was marred in debilitating injuries, here they are, healthy and playing their best basketball. Of note, results ATS have flipped-flopped in the past five games. When Denver has been favoured they lost the game and when they were underdogs they won the game.

Miami Heat

After all they accomplished through the first two rounds of these playoffs and the first six games of the Eastern Conference final, Miami had one more beguiling moment. After relinquishing a 3-0 series lead against a Boston Celtics team many insisted had all the moment at home in Game 7, the Heat simply said “nope.”

The 103-84 victory was unequivocal. Yes, Boston’s star Jayson Tatum played on a bum ankle, but that doesn’t explain why the Heat looked so good. Caleb Martin has used this playoff run as a coming-out party of sorts. His 14.1 points per game have proven crucial time and time again, as have Bam Adebayo’s 16.8. They’ll be facing a juggernaut offence in the final, but they’re equipped defensively to hold the fort, giving up only 107.4 points a contest.

Denver Nuggets

One of the few doubts surrounding the Nuggets is that annoying question that’s asked every year under the present circumstances: will Denver be rusty come Thursday night?

By the time the Heat were taking care of the Celtics in Game 7, the Nuggets hadn’t played a minute of competitive basketball in a full week, and that was already a couple of days ago at the time of writing. But if there is anything we’ve come to learn about this 2023 Nuggets squad, it’s that a slow start in a game won’t deter them. The Lakers gave them fits often in the first half of games in the Western final, but Nuggets still earned a sweep. There is no MPV pressure on Nikola Jokic this year, Jamal Murray is healthy and playing like it’s 2020, Michael Porter Jr.’s three-point shooting is invaluable, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s championship experience gives this group a boost.

The question is: is this the team that finally halts Miami’s march?

Game 1 Prediction: Who Will Win Heat vs. Nuggets?

NBA Predictions