Heat vs. Nuggets Odds
|Over/Under||208.5 (-110 / -110)|
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Miami Heat’s magical postseason run could come to an end in Game 5 on Monday night. After dropping both games at home, the Heat are down 3-1 in the NBA Finals and on the brink of elimination as the series shifts to Denver.
Contrary to the rest of the postseason, the Heat’s role players have struggled over the previous two games. Miami has been outmatched by the size and offensive prowess of the Denver Nuggets. Each time they tried to mount a comeback in Game 4, the Nuggets had an answer.
A gentleman’s sweep in favor of the Nuggets seems like a foregone conclusion — Denver is priced as a hefty nine-point home favorite. The Heat have been resilient and defied expectations all postseason long — can they make one more push to extend the series?
Here’s a look at Heat vs. Nuggets odds, as well as two betting picks for NBA Finals Game 5.
The Heat are gassed.
Their success in the playoffs has been largely due to efficient 3-point shooting and a stable of undrafted role players collectively stepping up. This has not been the case in the NBA Finals.
Gabe Vincent and Max Strus have come down to earth, combining for 3-for-17 shooting in Game 3 and 1-for-10 in Game 4. Caleb Martin is only shooting 11-for-31 from the field in the series. Duncan Robinson has been one of the Heat’s more consistent bench players, but his presence is a huge sacrifice on defense.
The Heat did a much better job on the glass in Game 4 as they outrebounded the Nuggets 37-33 — but they did a horrible job of protecting the ball. Miami committed 15 turnovers, eight of them by Bam Adebayo. He has the most difficult task of any Heat player in trying to slow down two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, and that is affecting him on the offensive end.
Miami has done well in the first quarter this postseason with a 14-8 1Q ATS record. The Heat have covered this three times in a row, as they have done a great job executing their game plan from the get-go and bringing energy from the start.
The second quarter, however, has been a different story — their second-quarter margin has been -8,-9,-5 and -5 in Games 1-4.
The Nuggets have defined excellence at home all season. They are 43-8 straight up and 31-19-1 against the spread (62%) at Ball Arena. They have a 9-1 record at home in the postseason, with their lone loss coming against the Heat in Game 2.
In Game 4, the Nuggets had to overcome Jokic’s foul trouble and a poor shooting performance from Jamal Murray, who went 5-for-17 from the field, presumably a side effect from the floor burn he suffered on his hand in Game 3. But Murray continued to make an impact with his playmaking, racking up 12 dimes for his fourth consecutive double-digit assist game.
After Christian Braun was the hero off the bench in Game 3, it was Bruce Brown’s turn in Game 4 as he scored 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Aaron Gordon led the team with 27 points, as he continues to exploit Denver’s size advantage over the Heat. Miami has few answers beyond Adebayo, and even he hasn’t been that effective on the defensive end.
With Denver looking to secure its first championship in franchise history on home court, it’s possible we see them struggle early due to the immense pressure of the occasion.
For a player prop, I am backing Gabe Vincent to have a bounce-back effort. He’s shot 3-for-16 in the last two games, but he had a great showing in Games 1 and 2, when he went a combined 15-for-26 from the field with nine 3-pointers.
Three early fouls in the second quarter of Game 3 killed his momentum, and early struggles in Game 4 cut his minutes.
Due to the consecutive poor showings, his point total has dropped from 12.5 in Game 4 to 9.5 in Game 5. He has hit this mark in nine of 11 road postseason games and has averaged 16 PPG in that sample.
With the Heat’s thin rotation, he will get minutes and shot volume, which presents value on his over.
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For the side, I am backing the Heat early.
Their starters have come out with great energy three games in a row and have generally had success in the first quarter in the postseason overall.
With their second-half performances in their previous two games, I see a team that is fatigued and may not have the legs to last the entire game. In an elimination game, I like the Heat to make another strong push and cover the first-quarter spread of +3.5.