After splitting games in Denver, the Miami Heat now fly back to South Beach intent on taking a series lead. Take a look below at our predictions, betting picks, and the betting odds for this game, as well as the projected starting lineups and updated injury reports for both teams!
Denver Nuggets Vs. Miami Heat Betting Odds
Denver is a 2.5-point road favorite against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, despite boasting just a 4-3 record away from Ball Arena in the 2023 Playoffs. The Nuggets will only miss Collin Gillespie, who has been injured for the entirety of the 2022-23 season.
Meanwhile, Miami won’t have Victor Oladipo available, while Tyler Herro remains questionable heading into Game 3. Herro is still experiencing soreness in his shooting hand/wrist, so his status is unknown.
The point total for Game 3 of the NBA Finals stands at 214.5 points as of Monday night. Like the spread, the point total is subject to change between now and the tip-off.
Denver Nuggets Vs. Miami Heat Prediction
Game 2 was wild and chaotic, to say the least. Miami jumped on Denver early, going up 21-10 early in the first quarter; however, the Heat then surrendered a 40-14 run to trail by 15 points with only a few minutes before halftime. The Heat were able to shrink that lead to single-digits by halftime and then hung around until the fourth when Duncan Robinson poured in ten points in the quarter to narrowly edge out the Nuggets. What should we expect when the Heat return home for Game 3?
Well, for one, don’t expect the Miami Heat to shoot close to 50% from the floor and from behind the arc again. Miami has been one of the most consistent three-point shooting teams this postseason (39.2%), which is interesting considering its struggles in this area throughout the regular season; however, this was, in many ways, the perfect offensive game from the Heat. Miami shot about as well as it is capable of while also limiting its turnovers to 11; the Heat also shot 90% from the free-throw line, which is imperative in close playoff games.
Additionally, Denver should be able to adjust to the different defensive looks that the Heat threw at it in Game 2, including when they switched ball screens, allowing Jimmy Butler to be the primary defender on Murray. Murray did not get the mismatches in Game 2 that he had gotten in Game 1.
Ultimately, Butler’s size and physicality took away some of Murray’s back-to-the-basket and post-fadeaway looks, which resulted in a below-average night for him. However, the Nuggets will have an answer for that as head coaches Michael Malone and Erik Spoelstra continue their elaborate chess game.
The bottom line is that it is difficult to imagine Denver allowing Miami to get as many clean looks as it did in Game 2. The Heat played a near-perfect offensive game and still barely won. Denver’s defense does struggle at times away from Ball Arena (117.7 defensive rating on the road in the 2023 Playoffs), but it has shot a higher field goal percentage on the road than at home in the 2023 Playoffs.
Further, Denver’s defensive rating of roughly 128 in Game 2 is far worse than it will perform in Game 3; the Nuggets are just too well-coached and disciplined to carry that energy into Game 3. Denver should enter this game desperate to grab a win in Game 3 and retake its home-court advantage.
- Denver is 10-7 ATS in the 2023 playoffs.
- Miami is 14-6 ATS in the 2023 playoffs.
- Miami is 6-2 at home in the 2023 playoffs
- Miami has a 1-5 “over” record in its past six games of the 2023 playoffs.
Bam Adebayo and Nikola Jokic will battle it out for part three of this key matchup in the 2023 NBA Finals. Check out which player should have a huge outing in Game 3 below!
Nikola Jokic vs. Bam Adebayo: Part III
Bam Adebayo has stepped up in the first two games of the NBA Finals, especially considering he has not been terrific in the postseason, averaging fewer than 17 points per game until these bouts with Denver.
However, in his past two games, Adebayo has averaged just shy of 24 points per game on over 50% shooting from the field. No one ever said Nikola Jokic’s defense was elite.
Still, Adebayo is getting crushed on the other end of the floor. After posting an insane 27/14/10 line in Game 1, Jokic went off for 41 points in Game 2; he’s shooting 60% from the floor in this series so far.
Denver won comfortably in Game 1 by contesting the three-point line and allowing Adebayo to take as many tough mid-range and post shots as he wanted, and the Nuggets should revert back to that. Bam shot 25 times in Game 1, which helped the Nuggets mitigate the Heat’s impressive shooting from deep.
Expect Denver’s head coach Michael Malone to adjust its defensive approach, which could mean another big game from Bam in the paint; however, don’t expect him to outperform a highly motivated Joker in this spot. Advantage: Jokic.
Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup
Miami Heat Starting Lineups
Denver Nuggets Injuries: Collin Gillespie (Out)
Miami Heat Injuries: Victor Oladipo (Out), Tyler Herro (Q)