Nuggets vs. Heat First Basket Scorer & Player Prop Bets for Game 3: Butler Looks to Strike First

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The Nuggets look to rebound from Sunday’s surprise defeat, as the NBA Finals shift to Miami for Game 3 on Wednesday night. Tyler Herro remains sidelined, so the Heat’s heroes who have been stepping up throughout the postseason have to continue to produce. The saying is that a playoff series doesn’t start until a road team wins, and with things heating up, here are our best player prop and first basket bets for Game 3 of the Nuggets vs. Heat NBA Finals

More Finals Betting: Odds to Win NBA Finals | Heat vs. Nuggets Predictions, Odds, Props

Nuggets vs. Heat First Basket Odds + More Player Prop Bets

Although Nikola Jokic has a height advantage, Bam Adebayo is beating him to the ball in the series. In Game 1, Adebayo technically won the opening tip, but thanks to a pre-tip position shift from Caleb Martin, the ball ended up in the hands of Denver’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. In Game 2, Adebayo won the tip outright. That signals a slight advantage for Adebayo, despite the height difference.

Here are the first basket scorer odds on the top sports betting apps for tonight’s contest. 

PlayerDraftKingsFanDuelCaesars (Code 'TODAYFULL')
Nikola Jokic+400+460+390
Bam Adebayo+475+550+460
Jimmy Butler+600+550+525
Jamal Murray+600+650+625
Aaron Gordon+700+950+900
Max Strus+850+850+800
Gabe Vincent +850+1000+1000

With Adebayo finding a way to beat Jokic in the opening jump ball, we like Miami’s odds of getting the first possession. The Heat found a way to tie the series without a big performance from Jimmy Butler so far. Now that they are home and have a chance to take a series lead, it’s likely he’ll be searching for that big game tonight. Although Butler didn’t take the first shots for Miami in either game, he scored the first five points in Game 1 for Miami to help settle his team into the game. 

jimmy butler, heat odds props
Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler (Photo by Schuler/Imago/Icon Sportswire)

Miami’s opening plays are usually drawn up for Adebayo, Gabe Vincent, and Max Strus. They take the first shot of the game 33%, 21%, and 21% of the time for the Heat, respectively. However, the ball is usually in Butler’s hands while they search for their position. Now that Denver has seen a few plays to start the game, Butler may look for his shot from the possession to get himself going, especially with a chance to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

Right when you think Miami is done shocking the basketball world, they do it again, and Butler usually has his hands in the middle of things. At DraftKings’ +600 odds, we like Butler to get the first bucket in Game 3.

Also read: FanDuel GM Talks About ‘Finals Firsts’ NBA Finals Betting Markets

Best Player Prop Bets for Nuggets vs. Heat Game 3 on Wednesday

Erick Spoelstra made a critical adjustment in Game 2, forcing Jokic into the scorer’s role. That limited the easy shots his teammates got and helped to slow the Nuggets’ offense down just enough for Miami to steal the game on the road. That isn’t likely to change, which makes multiple player props favorable, especially when it comes to Jokic. 

Nikola Jokic to Score 30 Plus Points (+100 on FanDuel)

Jokic scored 27 points in Game 1 on just 12 shot attempts. That was with him facing multiple traps and double teams. In Game 2 against more man-to-man coverage, he compiled 41 points on 57% from the field. The Nuggets will look to counter the Heat’s desire to make him more of a scorer, but Miami’s defense has been one of the best in the league. If they aren’t dedicating extra attention Jokic’s way, it will be difficult to overcome thanks to quality contests on all of his teammates’ shot attempts. 

Additionally, Jokic has scored 30 or more in 17 postseason games this year against much more aggressive defensive looks, so hitting the 30-point mark on man-up defense seems more than plausible for a scorer of his caliber, especially when he is being challenged to do just that. 

AlsoNBA Finals Updated Series Price & Props | Nuggets vs. Heat Same Game Parlay Picks for Game 3

Duncan Robinson to Score 10 Plus Points (+175 on FanDuel)

Duncan Robinson has been a spark plug off the bench for Miami all postseason long after not seeing many minutes during the regular season. In all but three of the 11 games this postseason when he plays 20 minutes, he has scored at least 10 points. One of those games was Game 1 of this series, but he and the rest of the Heat couldn’t buy a basket in that contest. 

Now the Heat have found their rhythm in the Finals, look for things to get a little easier for him. Points are at a premium for them, and his shooting ability is one of the few reliable options they have. He was integral to their fourth-quarter success in the last game and has surely earned himself more minutes. 

He is a career 40% shooter from deep. With additional minutes, we like his odds of covering this wager.

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Jamal Murray to Record the Most Assists (+425 on DraftKings)

Jamal Murray has been prolific offensively all postseason long. The defensive looks Jokic has drawn have made scoring the basketball Murray’s primary job. Now, the Heat are forcing Jokic to score, which shifts playmaking duties to Murray, who does have the title of “point guard” for the team. In the first two games of the series, he has had back-to-back 10-assist performances. 

Game 2 is when the Heat’s adjustment on Jokic primarily showed up, and the big man finished with just four assists. They will need Murray to get others involved to keep their offense balanced and avoid the scoring droughts that helped the Heat steal Game 2 on the road. Murray is being defended by Butler, which is making it a bit more challenging for him to explode offensively. 

So, he is having to find his teammates more than he has had to all postseason long. As the official playmaker for the team, it’s likely he’ll lead them in assists. That just leaves Miami players for him to beat out in this category. Butler usually leads the team in assists, but he doesn’t have the ball in his hands nearly as much as Murray.  

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Nikola Jokic Under 9.5 Assists (+116 on Caesars)

Jokic finished Game 1 with 14 assists thanks to countless double-team attempts to try and slow him down. In Game 2, the tables completely flipped. He saw man coverage most of the night, and in turn, he finished with just four assists. With the lack of extra defensive attention he typically receives, it is going to be a challenge for the big man to find the high-quality looks he usually creates for his teammates. 

For the moment, Spoelstra has taken away one of the Nuggets’ biggest weapons, and until they prove to be able to counter it, this is a great wager option to consider. If Miami is able to limit him tonight, you may want to consider making it a recurring wager for the series. 

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What’s to Come: 2023 NBA Finals Schedule

About the Author
David Fletcher

David Fletcher

Writer
David Fletcher is a sports betting writer at Gaming Today. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Stephen F. Austin State University and has nearly a decade of experience covering high school, collegiate, and professional sports in Houston. Fletcher is a big fan of the Astros, Rockets, and, unfortunately, according to him, the Texans. He enjoys bringing his love of sports and writing to the gaming industry, providing insight into quality sports bets.

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