NBA Finals Player Props: Nikola Jokic Will Fill the Box Score in Game 1

Action Network analyst Munaf Manji previews how NBA Player Props today with picks for Jimmy Butler and Nikola Jokic in Heat vs. Nuggets Game 1.

We’ve waited the entire year for this moment. An 82-game regular season, six Play-In Tournament games and three wild rounds of the NBA Playoffs have brought us an NBA Finals matchup that had a 100-1 chance of happening at the All-Star break.

There’s a lot we want to see and talk about in this series, but on this stage it’s all about the stars, and that’s where my attention is for NBA player props today. Below I take a look at how to bet Jimmy Butler and Nikola Jokic props in Heat vs. Nuggets Game 1. Let’s dive right into the bets for Thursday night’s NBA Finals matchup.

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NBA Player Props Today

Jimmy Butler, Over 5.5 Assists (-142)

Spread Nuggets -8.5
Time | TV 8:30 p.m. ET | TNT
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There’s no doubt that Butler has been on a mission this postseason, and despite having some inconsistencies scoring the basketball in the Eastern Conference finals, Butler was effective in finding his teammates and rebounding the ball.

In the postseason, Butler is averaging 5.7 assists per game, and he has gone over this line in three out of the last five games. In the two regular-season matchups against the Nuggets, Butler combined for a total of 17 assists and cleared this projection of 5.5 in both matchups. To go back even further, Butler has gone over this projection against the Nuggets in five straight games.

Additionally, Butler is leading the team in minutes per game, averaging 39.4. The Nuggets are a team that likes to play with pace, and I do not expect that to change in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Lastly, according to NBA Advanced Stats, Butler is second in the percentage of team assists per game. I do expect Butler to fill up the stat sheet as he has done all postseason long. I like this number up to 6.5.

Pick: Jimmy Butler Over 5.5 Assists

Nikola Jokic, Over 23.5 REB + AST (-113)

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Nikola Jokic has been having an incredible playoff run for the Nuggets. The two-time regular season MVP is averaging 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game. Once again, I expect Jokic to have a well-rounded game in his NBA Finals debut. Over the past five games, Jokic is averaging 13.6 rebounds and 11.8 assists for the Nuggets.

It is no secret that Jokic is the focal point of the offense for the Nuggets. In two regular-season matchups this year, Jokic averaged 12 rebounds and 10 assists in just 35.1 minutes per game. However, in the playoffs, Jokic has seen an uptick in minutes where he is playing 41.1 minutes per game. According to NBA Advanced Stats, in the playoffs Jokic has a 30.6% Usage Rate for the Nuggets, which by far leads the team.

Furthermore, the Heat have struggled to rebound the basketball in the postseason. The Heat are allowing 14.4 rebounds per game to the center position and are giving up an average of 10.8 offensive rebounds per game. If the Heat want to have success, they will have to limit the second-chance opportunities for the Nuggets, but that’s easier said than done considering the size mismatch. I believe Jokic will dominate on the glass and be able to find his teammates and fill up the box score.

Pick: Nikola Jokic Rebounds and Assists