2023 NBA Finals Odds, Analysis, and Betting Preview: Uncovering Heat’s Value Against Favored Nuggets

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Jimmy Butler #22 and Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat react against the Boston Celtics on May 21, 2023. Megan Briggs/Getty Images/AFP.

NBA Pick: Heat to Win NBA Championship +340 at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Heat to Win NBA Championship +340
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The Denver Nuggets are favored to win the title this year, but the Miami Heat have all the betting value on the NBA odds board.

So much for small-market value. The Denver Nuggets will probably win their first NBA title this year, and they’ve got pretty much everything you could ask for in a champion – but they’re not the right pick for the upcoming NBA Finals.

Maybe they would have been versus the Boston Celtics. Instead, it’s the Miami Heat supplying the opposition, and they’re the ones hoarding all the value on the NBA odds board heading into Thursday’s opener.

Pick any aisle at the market, and you’ll find Miami at a bargain price. The Heat is a +300 series underdog at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review) as we go to press and as a 9-point road dog at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review) for Game 1.

Additionally, consider considering the Over for Miami’s key player props when making your NBA picks.

Mile High Idle

To be honest, most of us here at the ranch were a bit surprised Denver is overvalued in this series. The deeper the Eastern Conference Finals went, the more it looked like the rested Nuggets would simply sweep up the remnants of whichever team prevailed.

That might still be the case, but you’ll have to pay a premium if you want to bet on Denver at -400 to win the title; FiveThirtyEight projects their chances at 73%, which works out to -270 when you run it past the unblinking eye of the BMR Odds Converter.

As for Game 1, the range of projections we’re following has the Nuggets winning by somewhere between 3.5 and eight points, with FiveThirtyEight in the fat part of the curve at -6.5. There’s enough room between that and Denver -9 to place a reasonably chunky bet on Miami instead.

Herro Ball

Projections are nice and all, but how good are the computers at predicting which players will suit up? The Heat has made it this far through the playoffs without shooting guard Tyler Herro, who broke his hand in Game 1 of the first round versus Milwaukee. Herro might make his return in Game 3 of the Finals – or maybe sooner, or maybe later.

For that matter, how healthy are Jimmy Butler and Gabe Vincent? Both have suffered ankle injuries this postseason; Butler hurt himself during Game 1 of their second-round series versus New York, but returned in Game 3, while Vincent was back with the Heat for Game 6 against Boston after missing just one contest.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Let’s not forget about Kevin Love (leg). He was an important addition for Miami off the buyout market, but Love didn’t play a single minute against the Celtics in Game 7 – and nobody batted an eye. The Heat could certainly use the 3-point shooting that both Love (36.8% during these playoffs) and Herro (37.8% during the regular season) provide.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets have zero injuries to report at press time, and they’ve been idle since May 22, when they completed their sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Finals. If Miami’s betting value comes from getting relatively healthy just in time to catch fire in the playoffs, maybe that value isn’t so robust in this particular high-altitude matchup.

Bet accordingly, and may the sphere be with you.

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.