NBA Playoffs: Previewing The 2023 NBA Finals

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Michael Savio
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  • The Nuggets are favored to win the NBA Finals at -480
  • Miami is in their seventh NBA Final since 2006
  • Denver won both games against the Heat this season

The 2023 NBA Finals are finally here, but nobody saw this matchup coming. The Miami Heat were able to stifle a comeback from Boston to advance to the NBA Finals for the seventh time since 2006. They will now take on the Denver Nuggets, who cruised their way through the West to reach their first ever NBA Finals.

While many expected the Nuggets to reach the Finals, at every turn this season. That is still the case for the NBA Finals, as bookmakers have the Nuggets as a heavy favorite.

Below we will break down both teams to help with your NBA Finals betting before the series starts on Thursday, June 1. We’ll share the teams’ odds to win and how each could be crowned the 2023 NBA Champions.

Denver Nuggets (-480 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

The Nuggets enter the 2023 Finals as a heavy favorite to win their first NBA Championship. It is hardly a surprise given their play all season and the fact that they have one of the top players in NBA history on their roster. They were able to beat the Wolves in five games, the Suns in six games, and they swept the Lakers in the Western Conference Final. That sweep of LA means the Nuggets will come into this Finals well rested, with their last game being played on May 22.

How the Nuggets Could Win the NBA Finals

We know that Nikola Jokic is likely to average a triple-double yet again in these playoffs, but the key will be how Jamal Murray plays. He has been incredible during their postseason run and is coming off his best series against the Lakers. The guard averaged 32.5 points and made 52.7% (40.5% 3PT) of his shots during the series.

On top of that, Murray also averaged 2.8 steals showing how important he is on both ends of the floor. Miami has been incredible against opposing stars, but Murray presents a different challenge. If he continues to shoot well and play elite defense, Denver should cruise to their first NBA Championship.

Player to Watch

While we have established Murray’s importance to this team, we believe Michael Porter Jr is going to be the player to watch in this series. The young star will likely have to deal with the Heat’s Jimmy Butler. The Miami star makes a living by getting fouled driving to the basket, which means he can get Porter into foul trouble. Denver will need MPJ to be at his best, so we’ll be watching him closely in this series.

Miami Heat (+330 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

After barely sneaking into the NBA Playoffs as an eight seed, the Heat now find themselves back into the NBA Finals. They have knocked out the top two seeds in the East and have shown they aren’t afraid of anyone in this league. However, their Eastern Conference Final matchup with Boston was draining. The Heat dropped three straight after going up 3-0 in the series, leading to a key game seven. Miami handled Boston with relative ease in that game, but fatigue will be an issue as they face a well-rested Denver Team.

How the Heat Could Win the NBA Finals

Defense wins championships, and no one has been better at it than Miami. They confounded top scorers on Boston, Milwaukee, and New York during their run to the Finals. If Miami can contain Murray and Michael Porter Jr, that will give them the best chance to be crowned champions. Jokic will do his damage but is Miami can contain Denver’s shooters it won’t be enough. While their play on offense will be important, we believe defense to be the key for Miami in this series.

Player to Watch

Bam Adebayo may be the most important player in this series. The talented young big man is one of the best in the league, but he disappears from games against other top big men. A player like Jokic is a nightmare matchup for Bam, and it could lead to his confidence dropping and a big hole opening up in Miami’s offense. We know Jimmy Butler is great, but we see Miami’s Championship hopes coming down to Bam.

Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid. As an adult, Michael started picking games for a small sports betting site and has built it into a career. His experience allows him to provide tips and information to help other bettors improve their game. Michael cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams, the Arizona State Sun Devils (his alma mater), and the Ottawa Senators. He specializes in baseball betting but has extensive experience in football, basketball, and hockey. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children or hiking and enjoying the outdoors.