Monday NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Nuggets vs. Heat Betting Preview
Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat.
- The Miami Heat remain a 7-point favorite over the Denver Nuggets in Monday night NBA actin, with the total still sitting at 208.
- There are several key players questionable this matchup, so Roberto Arguello breaks down every different angle below.
- Get his full Heat vs. Nuggets preview and pick.
Editor’s Note: The Miami Heat have ruled out Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro for Monday night’s game while Nikola Jokic is active for the Nuggets. For real-time injury updates, check out our FantasyLabs NBA news page.
Nuggets vs. Heat Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
The Miami Heat host the Denver Nuggets on Monday night exactly three weeks after these teams’ first meeting of the season. That matchup was a blowout Nuggets win in Denver, but it is better known as the game in which Markieff Morris and Nikola Jokic got into a heated altercation.
Jokic was suspended for a game and although Morris was only fined and not suspended, he has missed all 10 games since the incident due to the neck injury he suffered because of the Jokic push. Jimmy Butler was also fined for attempting to escalate the situation.
The Nuggets have played their last four games without Jokic due to a wrist injury, and the results have been ugly. With several key perimeter scorers already out in addition to P.J. Dozier tearing his ACL last week, the Nuggets have lost all four of those games (with the last three losses coming by at least 11 points each) and six straight overall.
Can the Nuggets snap their six-game skid or will the Heat get some revenge in Monday’s matchup? Let’s looks at how both teams stack up with one another.
Nikola Jokic is Key on Both Ends for Denver
Jokic is questionable to return on Monday, and the defending MVP’s status is a key factor in any bet on this game. Bones Hyland is also questionable to play with an ankle sprain for the Nuggets.
Normally if a rookie guard is questionable, it wouldn’t affect the value on the spread for an NBA team, but with so many other injuries to key scorers for the Nuggets — Dozier, Porter and Murray — they could really use Hyland on the court.
If the Nuggets hope to pull the upset, they will need to play significantly better on defense than they have played without Jokic. Before Jokic’s injury, the Nuggets ranked ninth in the league with a Defensive Rating of 105.1 (excluding garbage time, per Cleaning The Glass). Since his injury, the Nuggets rank last in the league with a 127.0 Defensive Rating.
Nikola Jokic, the reigning MVP, has been better than he was last year. He has taken big steps forward on defense & is averaging:
He is shooting a casual 59.4% from the field, 41% from three, & 74.7% from the foul line.
— T.J. McBride (@TJMcBrideNBA) November 19, 2021
While Jokic is known as an offensive player, he has taken his defense to another level this season as he has been more active in ball-screen coverages and has become one of the better defensive big men in the league. The Nuggets have also elected to start three power forwards in his absence, and no true centers have played any non-garbage time minutes since his injury so they are significantly smaller without him on the court.
Jokic remains an unstoppable offensive force as well, and he is the nightmare matchup for Bam Adebayo. While Adebayo is one of the most versatile defenders in the NBA and a worthy Defensive Player of the Year candidate, Jokic is simply bigger than him and knows how to use his size advantage to score and pass efficiently against him and the Heat defense.
If Jokic plays, the Nuggets will have a chance to win.
Can Miami Get Scoring From Its Rotation Players?
The Heat have dealt with injuries to a handful of key players like Butler, Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro, but they have weathered the storm as they sit in second place in the Eastern Conference at 13-7. They are coming off of a 107-104 road win over the Bulls on Saturday without Herro in the lineup. Both Herro (illness) and Butler (tailbone) are questionable to play.
The Heat’s defense has been impressive all year, and they should have success on Monday against a Nuggets team that has been decimated by injuries to key players, especially if Jokic remains out.
The key for the Heat will be if they can score efficiently on offense. The Heat struggled offensively in Saturday’s win in Chicago without Herro as they scored just 72 points through three quarters, but they got hot in the fourth quarter, scoring 35 points in the quarter as Gabe Vincent surprisingly led the team in scoring with 20 points.
If Herro and/or Butler are out on Monday, the Heat will need Adebayo, Lowry, and Robinson to step up as scorers in the starting unit. Herro is their best pure scorer — he is shooting 40% on 3s and a ridiculous 53% on long midrange shots (per Cleaning The Glass). Butler leads the team with 122.7 points per 100 shots and a scoring average of 23.6 points per game.
While many players around the league has seen their free throw attempts per game drop, Butler has increased his free throw attempts per game to 8.6, which ranks second behind only Giannis Antetokounmpo this season. Butler’s ability to put pressure on the rim is unparalleled on this Heat team.
With key players on both teams questionable, be sure to keep an eye out for their injury statuses leading up to the opening tap. You can find an up-to-date list of injuries on our FantasyLabs News page.
If Jokic is out and one or more of Herro and Butler play, take the Heat at -7 with value down to -10 as the Nuggets won’t be good enough on either end of the court to compete against a highly motivated Heat team.
If there isn’t value on the spread in this spot, take the Heat team total over up to 111 points (DraftKings has this at 107.5 at the time of writing) as the Nuggets have allowed each of their last four opponents to score at least 114 points.
If Jokic plays and one or both of Herro and Butler play, take over (currently at 207.5) up to 209.5 as Jokic will be enough of a handful offensively to keep the Nuggets competitive and hit the over.
If Jokic plays, but Butler and Herro are both out, take the Nuggets on the spread at -3 or at a better price on the live spread.
If Jokic, Butler and Herro are all out, I recommend passing on any pregame bets and trying to get the Heat at even money or better on the live moneyline. The Heat will have their scoring droughts without Butler and Herro available which will create more value live than on the pregame lines.
Pick: Nuggets -3 or better live