Game 1 of the NBA Finals is here, and we have two completely different paths for the teams competing for the title. The Nuggets were the top-seed in the Western Conference, and their home court has helped them get to where they are. Miami is just the second eight-seed to ever reach the NBA Finals, and has made and insane run from the Play-In round to take down some contenders in the Eastern Conference. While Denver is the heavy favorite, it’s the Heat that have the Finals experience. Let’s breakdown some betting angles on DraftKings Sportsbook.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets
Nuggets 1H -5.5 (-110) — 1-unit
I think Game 1 sets up about as well for Denver as any game in this postseason has, let alone this upcoming series. The rest versus rust conversation has gotten plenty of chatter the last few days, but in today’s load management NBA, players are accustomed to plenty of rest.
The Nuggets have had nine days to prepare for this series, and should come ready to play. This isn’t the Celtics Game 1 when they were coming off a huge Game 7 victory over the 76ers with Miami waiting, this is the other way around. Miami’s calling card this postseason has been stealing Game 1 on the road, but this will be by far their most difficult place to do so.
The Heat just wrapped up a tough seven-game series, travel to a tough building and atmosphere to play, and will have to go against a team that’s 38-4 at home this season when Nikola Jokic is in the lineup. I like the home team to get of to a strong start.
Nuggets Win Game 1/Series (-230) — 2-units
I mentioned the massive home court advantage Denver has over anyone, and I think it’s enhanced given the scenario we’re in for Game 1. This is a tough series to bet given how large a favorite the Nuggets are, but keep this price in perspective.
Denver is -360 to win this game, and already -425 for the series. If Denver does win this game, it moves them over -500 to win the series, and we’ll have them at -230. We just need the Nuggets to continue to do what they do, and win on the court they haven’t lost on all postseason.
Is this juicy? Yes, but let’s look around the market. This prop is as high as -340 at other shops, so we’re really getting a fantastic savings here in comparison.
Jokic is obviously a spectacular rebounder, so I don’t think many of you will argue with his overs in any fashion in this series. But the numbers in both this matchup and this postseason tell us to back The Joker to clean the glass early.
We know when a new series gets underway, players tend to feel the new matchup out. That can lead to faster-paced games, and we know Denver wants to play fast. On the Miami side, it led to a Game 1 over in a series that we saw turn into a rock fight after that.
I think we continue to see that quick start here, and that’s led to massive first quarters in Game 1 of these playoff games for Jokic. Here are his first quarter rebounding numbers for each Game 1 of this postseason — five against MIN, eight against PHX and then 12 against LAL.
Jokic went over 3.5 boards in the first quarter of the home matchup against the Heat this season, and the matchup plays right into it. Pace along with a small-ball center in Bam Adebayo should allow Jokic to feast.
I’m going to get bold here and play a Playoff Himmy under. Butler has been spectacular this postseason, but there have been down games along the way. He dinged up the ankle in Game 7 in Boston yet again, and I’m expecting some fatigue to potentially show in Game 1 of this series. Playing a Game 1 on the road off a massive Game 7 win is always a tough spot, and the matchup is tough here too.
Butler went over this prop in the game in Miami this season, but it was a game Aaron Gordon missed. Gordon is an elite defender with plenty of size to give Butler issues — which is why we saw him finish well under this prop (31) in the matchup in Denver that Gordon did play. Gordon is coming off consecutive series of being tasked with Kevin Durant and then LeBron James. I think he holds Butler in check in Game 1.
SGP (+360) — 0.3-units
Jimmy Butler UNDERS: 28.5 Points, 8.5 Rebounds 7.5 Assists
I rarely give these out, but Game 1 does have blowout potential for Denver. I already think Butler has a down game, but if the blowout is there, the Heat haven’t been shy to sit him late in games — like Game 5 in Boston for the entire fourth. I like a small play on a double-digit Denver win, with ALT Butler unders mixed in — we discussed this on Unreasonable Odds this week.
DraftKings Sportsbook is also offering a 100% profit boost on a SGP for Game 1 of the NBA Finals, so opt in and put it to use. If you used it on this play you’d be looking at +720 odds!
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment.