Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat: Predictions, Starting Lineups (3/13/24)

In an NBA Finals rematch, the Denver Nuggets (45-20) encounter the Miami Heat (35-29) this Wednesday (3/13/24). Get Nuggets vs. Heat moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.

Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat Prediction

The Nuggets have outscored opponents by 12.7 points per 100 possessions during the first quarter (via NBA.com), which is only surpassed by Boston. It’s largely because their starting lineup is utterly dominant, and Nikola Jokic nearly plays the entire quarter.

As for the matchup, Terry Rozier and Duncan Robinson form an uninspiring first line of defense on the perimeter, and they can be tormented by the top scorers. Not only will the duo struggle to navigate Jokic’s crushing screens in the pick-and-roll or dribble handoffs, but Murray should cook in isolation. Aaron Gordon’s aerial threats also pose massive issues for Nikola Jovic and Jimmy Butler, especially if Miami decides to double Jokic around the basket.

Meanwhile, Bam Adebayo is one of the best defenders in the world, but Jokic can shrug him off at any moment. During their Finals matchup, Jokic averaged roughly 30 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists on an impossibly good 67 true shooting percentage. Therefore, it’s difficult to give Miami the usual Adebayo advantage here.

On the other end, Gordon matches Butler’s physicality on drives, while Caldwell-Pope can apply strong on-ball pressure against Rozier. Adebayo will struggle to gain optimal positioning against Jokic’s bulk too.

Overall, the Heat play above their talent level, but the Nuggets are a different animal.

Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat Prediction: 1st Quarter Nuggets -1 (-110 DK, 2u)

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Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat Best Odds

The reigning champs enter the contest as nearly four point favorites. They are only 9-13-1 against the spread as away favorites, while Miami is 1-6 against the spread as home underdogs.

For the Heat’s +140 moneyline to be profitable in the long run, they must win at least 41.7 percent of the time.

Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup

PG: Jamal Murray
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Michael Porter Jr
PF: Aaron Gordon
C: Nikola Jokic

Miami Heat Starting Lineup

PG: Terry Rozier
SG: Duncan Robinson
SF: Jimmy Butler
PF: Nikola Jovic
C: Bam Adebayo

Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat Injuries

Reserve forward Vlatko Cancar remains sidelined for Denver. On the other side, Miami lacks Tyler Herro, Kevin Love, and Josh Richardson. Fortunately, Jimmy Butler is probable to play.

Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat Key Matchups

Heat Free Throws

Miami ranks 8th in free throw attempt rate, while Denver sits 21st in opponent free throw attempt rate. Not only will trips to the line provide a source of easy points for the Heat, but it tags Denver starters with fouls, thus potentially sending them to the bench early. If Miami relentlessly attacks the basket racks up fouls, then they stand a far greater chance of taking the first quarter.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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