National Basketball Association
Heat vs. Nuggets: 2023 Finals MVP odds, best bets, Game 1 prop pick
National Basketball Association

Heat vs. Nuggets: 2023 Finals MVP odds, best bets, Game 1 prop pick

Updated May. 31, 2023 9:53 p.m. ET

Just as we all expected, the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat are set to tip off the 2023 NBA Finals on Thursday night in the Rocky Mountains.

Seriously, though, who saw this coming?

A Nuggets-Heat "exacta box" was being offered across Las Vegas sportsbooks as high as 250-1 before the postseason started. So a $100 bet on this exact Finals matchup would’ve made you $25,000.



That’s mostly because the betting market couldn’t envision a deep Heat run through the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics.

"We were fine with Miami winning the East," Westgate SuperBook vice president of risk management Jeff Sherman told FOX Sports. "Boston would’ve been a better result, but we’re fine. Brooklyn would’ve been a disaster. We were in real trouble if the Nets made the Finals.

"We do have some liability on Miami winning the title."

It’ll be a tall task for Miami to complete its Cinderella run against the consistently-dominant Nuggets, who are armed with the league’s best player and a roster perfectly curated for his skill set.

There’s only one number I need to give you to explain how insane Nikola Jokic is playing right now – he’s -125 to average a triple-double in the Finals.

Jokic is favored to do something only one player has ever done before.

LeBron James averaged 34 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists when the Cleveland Cavaliers bowed out to the Golden State Warriors in five games back in 2017. 

And again, Jokic is favored to pull the feat off. 

As for the series itself, FanDuel Sportsbook is dealing the Nuggets at -460 to eliminate Miami, a price that implies over an 80% chance of probability.

I won’t get involved with the series price either way, but there are two things I’m very intrigued by heading into Game 1.

First up, Heat big fella Bam Adebayo should have a big series scoring the ball. He’s been extremely aggressive against Jokic taking 10, 19, 14 and 14 shots over their last four meetings.

Adebayo struggled on offense over the final four games of the Eastern Conference Finals due to the super-athletic defense of Celtics’ big man Robert Williams. Life should be easier against Jokic, who’s defensively efficient, but far from a game changer on that side of the ball.

You also have to imagine Heat head honcho Erik Spoelstra will aim to tire Jokic out over the course of the series, and that starts with unleashing Bam on the offensive end.

Attack, attack, attack.

I’m on Adebayo "Over" 16.5 points (-105) in the opener.

Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat: Nick's pick ahead of NBA Finals Game 1

Jimmy Butler and the No. 8 seed Heat will face Nikola Jokić and the No. 1 seed Nuggets Thursday night for Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

The other bet I find intriguing is Jamal Murray to win Finals MVP. Jokic is a substantial favorite for all the right reasons, but it doesn’t feel right to look down the sheet and see Jokic at -350 and Murray at +1300.

Obviously, Jokic will always get his flowers — not to mention the mathematical respect from bookmakers — because of his all-around dominance, but this isn’t hockey's Conn Smythe Trophy.

It’s not what you’ve done all playoffs, it’s always what you do at the end.


Nikola Jokic: -303 (bet $10 to win $13.30 total)
Jimmy Butler: +333 (bet $10 to win $43.30 total)
Jamal Murray: +1300 (bet $10 to win $140 total)
Bam Adebayo: +6000 (bet $10 to win $610 total)
Michael Porter Jr.: +15000 (bet $10 to win $1,510 total)
Aaron Gordon: +20000 (bet $10 to win $2,010 total)

*odds as of 5/30/2023

Jokic will undoubtedly pad the stat sheet. But if Murray averages over 30 points per game as he did in the Western Conference Finals with a 40-piece game or two, MVP will be a legit conversation should Denver emerge with the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

That’s it for now, but we’ll see you early next week when the series shifts to South Beach with a white-hot betting trend you won’t want to miss.

Until then, good luck and go Bam. 

PICK: Bam Adebayo Over 16.5 points (-105) in NBA Finals Game 1
PICK: Jamal Murray (+1300) to win Finals MVP

Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He'll probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.

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