The Nuggets’ quest for the city’s first-ever NBA championship begins tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC. Denver is a heavy favorite to win it all, and Nikola Jokic is favored to win the Finals MVP award. However, Miami has been the underdog in every series so far, so the Nuggets must handle business or risk blowing it at the finish line. With the excitement set to tip off in a matter of hours, we put together some of the best player props and first basket bets for Game 1 of the Heat vs. Nuggets NBA Finals for your consideration.
This series is the last chance to wager on live NBA action this season, so check out the bonus offers at the top sportsbooks to claim an offer and place a wager.
Heat vs. Nuggets Game 1 First Basket Scorer + More Player Props
Jokic has dominated every part of the game except for the jump ball this postseason. His opening tip win percentage is among the lowest of all qualifying big men in the playoffs at 49%. Bam Adebayo’s opening tip win percentage is 55%. Despite the difference in percentages, Jokic has a clear height advantage, which should help him be more successful in this round.
Here are the odds for the first basket scorer in Game 1 from some of the best sports betting apps on the market.
|Player||DraftKings||FanDuel||Caesars (Code 'TODAYFULL')|
|Michael Porter Jr.||+700||+1000||+850|
In their two head-to-head matchups this year, the two big men split the opening tip, and the team who won the opening tip struck first in both. If not for bad timing, Jokic would have won both jump balls, seemingly with ease. Given how the jump ball has gone when the teams have met this year, we like Denver’s chances of securing the opening tip. As a team, Denver scores first 54% of the time, and Miami scores first 41% of the time.
When Denver strikes first, Jokic calls his own number successfully 31% of the time. With all the marbles on the line in this series, it’s likely Denver will go to their MVP early and often considering his advantage in size (both in weight and height) against Adebayo. Although he will be a focal point for Miami, his teammates have made opposing defenses pay for cheating down to help defend him. Thanks to the hot shooting they displayed in the last round, Erik Spoelstra may hold off on the double team right out of the gate to see how Adebayo fares on his won for a while.
That all adds up to nice odds for Jokic cashing this wager.
Best Player Prop Bets for Heat vs. Nuggets Game 1 on Thursday
The Heat are coming off of a dominating Game 7 just a few days ago, and the Nuggets have been resting for nearly two weeks. The short break for Miami may prove advantageous despite the physicality and duration of the last series. To avoid a letdown, Jamal Murray and the rest of Denver’s supporting cast must find their rhythm quickly.
Nikola Jokic to Have Under 9 Assists (+102 on FanDuel)
The Nuggets have had an extended break thanks to sweeping the Lakers in their last series. That may not hinder Jokic’s offense, but it could significantly hinder his teammates’ performances. Additionally, the Heat are the third-best team against the three-pointer in the playoffs, so a lot of the quality kick-out passes from Jokic to his teammates may not be there in this game given the circumstances.
In seven games against Boston, the Heat limited the Celtics to under 30% from three-point range three times. If that level of defense carries over to Game 1 in this one, it’s going to be a challenge for Jokic to get Over nine dimes in this one.
Bam Adebayo to Record Over 3.5 Assists (+100 on DraftKings)
Adebayo’s offense took a nosedive after Game 3 of the last series. However, in three of the last four games, he recorded at least three assists. To create additional offense for his short-staffed roster, Spoelstra is going to put Adebayo on the block to look for his shot consistently. Although not successful as of late, his drives against slower big men have pulled in the defense, which is creating open shots for the likes of Caleb Martin, Gabe Vincent, and even Jimmy Butler.
Jokic is no defensive stalwart and will see his fair share of Adebayo drive attempts. In their two matchups this year, Adebayo scored 22 and 19 points on 14 shot attempts and multiple trips to the line. That suggests he is being aggressive in the matchup. If he brings that version of his game tonight, it’s likely he’ll see extra attention, helping his odds of covering this wager.
Bruce Brown to Score Over 11.5 Points (+100 on Caesars)
Bruce Brown had his best round of the playoffs against the Lakers in the last round. His stock is up with head coach Mike Malone, who is slightly upping his playing time along the way. As he does, Brown’s production continues to climb, especially from deep. In the Western Conference Finals, he shot 36% from long range, up from 21% in the first round and 30% in the second round.
In two games against Miami this season, he averaged 14 points and shot lights out in both contests. He is aware of where the holes are when Murray and Jokic get extra attention from the Heat and is doing a good job making them pay.