NBA Finals Odds, Picks, Predictions: Moore’s Bets for Nuggets vs Heat (Friday, June 9)

NBA Finals Odds, Picks, Predictions: Moore’s Bets for Nuggets vs Heat (Friday, June 9) article feature image

Via Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images. Pictured: Caleb Martin #16 of the Miami Heat dribbles the ball during Game Three of the 2023 NBA Finals on June 7, 2023 at Kaseya Center in Miami, Florida.

  • The Miami Heat have their backs against the wall in Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets.
  • Will the Heat bounce back once again at home, or will the Nuggets take a commanding 3-1 lead?
  • Matt Moore breaks down the matchup, including his favorite bets for Game 4 of Nuggets vs. Heat.

Nuggets vs. Heat Odds

8:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Nuggets -3.5 | Total: 210.5

MIAMI– The Miami Heat have never trailed in a series this postseason until now. In Game 4 of the NBA Finals, they face a desperation moment. It's not their first must-win, as they had to go on the road to beat Boston in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

But this does feel like a different situation.

The Nuggets not only retook home-court advantage in the series with their Game 3 win Wednesday, but they also showed that the number of things that have to go right for the Heat is much longer than it is for Denver.

The Nuggets shot poorly from 3-point range, hitting only five 3-pointers. Denver effectively only got major contributions offensively from Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and rookie Christian Braun. Miami only had five turnovers.

Nonetheless, the Nuggets won by 15.

Miami is outgunned in this series. That's not necessarily new; they were the less talented team against the Bucks and the Celtics.

But the way that Denver uses its talent puts constant pressure on Miami. Denver said to a man they would defend better in Game 3, especially on 3-point attempts, and they held up to that intention in Game 3. The Heat finished with 35 3-point attempts, but eight of those came in the last four minutes, with Miami chucking in an attempt to pull off a miracle.

That said, the Heat have pulled off surprise win after surprise win this postseason.

Let's talk some bets for Game 4, along with how the series is shaping up.

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The Trends

In the last two postseasons, with the Heat off a loss, Miami is 11-4 straight up and ATS. Miami is +3.5 in the first quarter in those games and +4.2 in the 4th quarter.

In those games, the under is 10-5, going under by almost eight points per game.

Miami is also 11-1 against all teams that aren't the Celtics in the last two postseasons off a loss.

The Heat are also 3-4 as a home dog in the playoffs after a Game-3 loss (4-3 ATS). Two of those three wins came vs. the Bucks.

The Nuggets are also 5-3 on the road this season, straight up and ATS.

Road favorites in the Finals are 11-5 straight up and 9-7 ATS since 2003.

The Matchup

Miami's getting a little desperate against the Jokic-Murray two-man game.

Switching has proven to not be any type of solution; Jokic simply backs down Jimmy Butler into oblivion and scores on him.

The zone has worked throughout this series, to a degree, but in Game 3, Murray and Christian Braun drove into the teeth of it, which opened up space for Jokic on short jumpers. You can't give Jokic anything close to an open look.

The Heat were so desperate to contain Murray's scoring that they started blitzing him with two defenders on the perimeter. Murray sliced it apart to the tune of 10 assists.

When they left Jokic open, he found his superstar teammate open for a 4-on-3 situation. I don't know if you know this, but leaving Nikola Jokic with a man advantage is basically 20 cc's of straight basketball doom.

So late in the game, when the Heat were putting two on Murray in pick and roll, they'd bring a third man to guard Jokic on the roll. That left a gaping hole on the baseline, which Christian Braun took advantage of. You can bet other Nuggets will see that on tape and cut if presented with the opportunity.

There's no good option when Murray and Jokic are as good as they are right now.

Miami is faced with two options.

They can go big, playing Haywood Highsmith alongside Kevin Love and Bam Adebayo in an attempt to combat Denver's insane size advantage and try and slow them down with big defenders. That takes away from the offense as Highsmith is only a career 33% shooter from deep and is only 6'7" anyway.

Or they can go small. Duncan Robinson has been great in these playoffs and has managed to fend off attempts to attack him defensively. Denver found some opportunities to do just that in Game 3, but Robinson's spacing of the floor might be so vital to the gap Miami faces offensively that he needs to play.

The Heat are 1-0 when their offense has been their better unit in these Finals.

The Heat will send the kitchen sink in this game. Going back to Denver down 3-1 puts this series into "when not if" territory.

Miami's consistent conversation wasn't tactical after the game Wednesday and at media day on Thursday. They talked about needing to play with more physicality and win 50-50 balls.

"Like I said after the game, the film also substantiated that, those areas, ball in the air, ball on the floor, 50/50 balls, the physicality parts of the game, for the most part they are winning those," Spoelstra said. "Clearly, the rebounding differential was probably the most glaring sign."

Spoelstra said the Heat have to win more of the "skirmishes" when the play is up for grabs.

Just like Denver played with more intensity and physicality, Miami intends to do the same in Game 4.

The Bets

First-Half Under 106 (-110): The trend has been towards the under, heavily, in Finals games, and this trend has been lights out over the last three seasons.

The Heat know the only way they can win this game is if they absolutely drag the pace into the mud. So even if the Nuggets or the Heat are shooting well, the pace will likely keep it down. Throw in the fact that Denver's second unit without Jokic is entirely feast or famine, and there's a good reason to play this.

Heat First-Quarter Moneyline +110: The Nuggets are great in the first quarter in the postseason because, well, they have Jokic. But this is absolutely a "throw everything at them" game. Tactically, intensity-wise, everything.

I don't know if the Heat can hold Denver's offense down for the majority of the game, but I do think Miami can win the first quarter. They won Game 2's first quarter and held a big lead in Game 3's before the Nuggets came back to tie. With a tie providing the push, I'll take the Heat to win the quarter outright at +110 rather than Miami +0.5 at -102, which would give me a win on the tie. That 12 cents is worth it.

I lean pretty heavily towards Denver -3 on the spread but am going to sit it out. Denver's the better team and should win the series, but this is a spot where you have the team that's best in the playoffs in terms of their effort when needed (Miami), at home, in what is effectively their season.

I'll stay away from the pre-game line, but if Miami wins the 1st quarter and builds a lead, I'll be looking for opportunities to bet Denver live.

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