NBA Odds, Expert Picks & Predictions: Anderson’s Bets for Nuggets vs. Heat Game 4 (June 9)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets handles the ball during Game 3 of the 2023 NBA Finals.
- The Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets play Game 4 of the NBA Finals Friday night.
- Brandon Anderson has several angles for tonight's matchup, including player props for the game and series.
- Check out his picks and predictions for Nuggets vs. Heat Game 4.
Nuggets vs. Heat Odds
Just when the Heat had found a foothold in these Finals, the Nuggets are back in control.
Denver blew the game open with its third quarter run, coasting to a 109-94 win. It was largely a game of 2-on-2, and Denver's stars bested Miami's.
Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray became the first teammates in Finals history to record dueling triple-doubles. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo combined for 50 points, but it was not nearly enough.
Denver won Game 3 by dominating physically. The Nuggets out-rebounded the Heat 58-33 and nearly doubled them up in the paint, 60-34, as Denver retook control of the series.
Now the Heat are effectively playing for their season. Can Miami even things up 2-2 at home, or will the Nuggets move within one win of their first NBA championship?
Miami Is Running out of 3s — and Answers
For the first time since perhaps the start of the Conference finals, Jimmy Butler finally looked himself in Game 3. He was aggressive from the jump, attacking the paint and putting pressure on Denver's defense.
Bam Adebayo remained aggressive, too. He was a beast on the glass with 17 rebounds, six offensive, and got to the line for 10 free throws. Adebayo scored 22, and Butler had 28. Those 50 combined points, though, came on 45 shots. Adebayo was particularly inefficient at 7-of-21.
Those two stars had to keep grinding for looks because no one else showed up for Miami.
Caleb Martin scored eight points in a one-minute stretch, but that matched his total from the rest of the three games combined. He was the only other Heat player in double digits. Gabe Vincent and Max Strus combined for a miserable 3-of-17 from the field.
But this wasn't just a poor shooting night for Miami.
Denver's defense was dialed in. The Nuggets communicated better, closing out on shooters and turning this into a contest of 2s.
Remember Game 2 when Miami bombed 45% of its shots from 3s and made nearly half of them, using 3-point volume and shot variance to steal a road win?
Miami got up only 23 treys in the first three quarters of Game 3, under 35% of its shots. They made only 11 all night. Denver stayed connected to Miami's undrafted role players and turned the faucet off.
The Nuggets finished with only five 3s themselves. They made only one in the second half, didn't even attempt one the final quarter. It didn't matter. Denver pushed the game inside the arc, dominated Miami 58-to-40% on 2s and controlled the game.
The Heat got a great whistle early and got to the line often. They turned it over four times all game. They got big nights from their stars. And they still finished with 94 points and never threatened.
Miami's offense isn't good enough without bombing 3s, and the Heat are running out of options.
Denver's Offensive Floor Is Too Good, Even against a Good Defense
Can the Nuggets keep the Miami's 3-point spigot turned off? That remains to be seen.
Denver can get lazy and lose focus defensively, and Miami runs hot and cold and is playing for its season. There will be no garbage time for the Heat in Game 4. They can't go down 3-1.
I lean Denver -3.5 and considered Nuggets by 1-to-10 at +175 (FanDuel), eking out a close win against a desperate opponent. I also looked at Nuggets to win without both teams scoring 100 at +230 (Bet365), a hit in both Denver wins.
I'm still not sure I trust Miami's offense, for better or for worse — but I do trust Denver's.
Jokic and Murray are just too good.
Murray was on a heater with 34 points, getting into his offense early and raining jumpers. He finished with 34/10/10. Jokic was a rebounding monster with 21 boards on 31 chances. He tallied 32/21/10 and is now responsible for three of the five 30/20/10 games in playoff history.
That two-man game has proven too much for Miami, and for everyone else. When the Heat tried to blitz Murray, that only left Jokic 4-on-3. He scored on the roll and dominated with his post touches, and his improved screen angles released Murray to attack.
What's wild is that Denver hasn't even played its A-game yet this series.
Michael Porter Jr. and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have had nightmare series on both ends and can't hit a shot. Aaron Gordon has been good defensively but hit-or-miss in attack.
Even without that A-game, Denver is up 2-1 with a sparkling 119.7 Offensive Rating.
The Nuggets' offensive floor is too good, and that's the angle I'm betting for Game 4. Give me Denver's team total over 106.5, just too low for these Nuggets.
Denver is over that number in 16 of 18 playoff games (89%). That includes all four losses, which gives us another avenue to hit. Denver was over 106.5 in 87% of Jokic regular-season games.
The Nuggets scored 104, 108, and 109 this series, only that slow because of a glacial pace. Expect a slight uptick in Game 4 with two tired teams on short rest for the only time in the Finals. Tired teams lead to defensive lapses and turnovers, which mean easy points and faster pace.
Denver has scored at least 25 in three quarters each Finals game, averaging 22.3 in the one "off" quarter, with 29+ in one peak quarter each game. That's a floor of 101 points, even at this pace.
I don't know if Miami will get to its shots, but with this bet, it won't matter.
Jamal Murray's Star Leap Is the Story of the Playoffs
The Nuggets are two wins away from etching their names into history.
If that happens, Nikola Jokic will receives heaps of praise and think pieces. He'll deserve them. He's been absolutely amazing.
But Jokic has been this great for years, both in the regular season and the playoffs. The real story of Denver's leap, on this playoff run and in these Finals, is Jamal Murray.
Just look at how the Finals have played out. Denver's offense was great for half of Game 1, then quiet in the second half and in Game 2 before breaking out again in Game 3.
That precisely mirrors Murray's production, and it's no coincidence. When Miami contains Murray, the Heat keep the Nuggets offense in check. When they don't, Denver rolls.
Since May 9, a full month of basketball at the highest level, Jamal Murray has been a superstar.
Murray's line in those eight games is jaw-dropping: 29/6/7 on ridiculous 51/42/95 shooting with a 126 Offensive Rating. He has a 7.9 Box Plus-Minus during that stretch, a number behind only Jokic and Devin Booker among players with at least 200 minutes in these playoffs.
Murray's scoring has been uneven in the Finals, but his playmaking has been elite. He's led all players in potential assists in each of the three games at 17, 21, and 16 with double-digit dimes in each. That's actually a bit under expectation too, thanks to poor shooting by MPJ and KCP.
Murray's assists line is rising, but keep playing the over at 7.5. It's still an assist or two too low.
Our Jim Turvey was on Murray to lead the series in assists at +4200 coming into the Finals. He still leads Jokic by two, and he's 13 potential assists ahead of him. I joined Jim at +800 heading into Game 3, and it still has value at +300 (Bet365).
FanDuel has a bet for Murray to hit double-digit assists every Finals game. It's entirely possible that's only two more games, and we've already hit the first three legs. I project Murray at 9.7 assists going forward this series, making that nearly 50/50 per game. It's priced far too long at +1900.
Bets: Murray 10+ assists every game +1900 (FanDuel)
Miami's Best Hope Is to Keep Launching 3s
Denver did a better job stayed attached to shooters in Game 3, but Miami's best hope in this series is to increase variance by bombing heaps of 3s and trying to outscore the Nuggets offense.
Miami inserted Kevin Love into the starting lineup in Game 2 after a DNP in the opener, and he's done his job, spacing the offense and getting 3s up.
Love has two 3s each start on 2-of-5 and 2-of-6 shooting. He's made multiple 3s in 11 of 18 playoff games despite playing under 24 minutes in all but one of them.
The numbers get even better if you exclude a Celtics series that was a bad matchup and saw him phased out for Caleb Martin. Love is averaging 1.8-of-5.4 3s outside that series, with 2+ in nine of 13. I'll play him to go over 1.5 3s at +145, an implied 41% versus our expected 69% hit rate.
If Miami can't get Vincent and Strus going, it may have to juice the offense with more Duncan Robinson. He got going late in Game 3 with a couple makes, and we've seen that carry over to the following game in the past. Robinson has six treys now in the Finals, four off Vincent's lead and two behind Murray.
I can't help but bite on Robinson at +6000 to lead the series in 3s. He could erase that four-shot deficit in two hot minutes, and he usually bombs away in garbage time too.
With Denver clamping down on Miami's guards and moving away from taking 3s itself, it's possible this series could end in Game 5 with a series 3s leader at 12 or 13. Robinson is always a threat to explode, with at least five makes in a game all three previous series this postseason. Let's have a nibble.
Bets: Kevin Love over 1.5 3s +145 (Bet365) | Duncan Robinson series 3s leader +6000 (DraftKings)
Anderson's Game 4 Betting Card
- Nuggets TT over 106.5 -114
- Jamal Murray over 7.5 assists -120
- Murray 10+ assists in every Finals game +1900 (0.5 unit)
- Kevin Love over 1.5 3s +145
- Duncan Robinson series 3s leader +6000 (0.25 unit)