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NBA Player Prop Picks (6/1/23)
Check out our favorite player props from the series opener of the 2023 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets.
The Heat blew a 3-0 series lead versus the Celtics, but they rebounded in Game 7 by convincingly winning on the road. Now, they get to face the fearsome Denver Nuggets, who last played on May 22nd when they swept LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Can Miami shock the doubters once again and win their first title since 2013?
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 2+ 3PM (-145)
Taking Denver over threes is going to be a common theme throughout this series. Miami ranks 25th defending catch-and-shoot threes based on opponent shot quality and allows them at the 3rd highest frequency (per ShotQuality). Jokic and Murray are too dominant offensively for Miami to guard straight up, so the Heat must routinely send help. That will leave three-point shooters open, and Jokic won’t miss the pass.
Caldwell-Pope has hit this in five straight games now and did so during both regular season matchups against Miami. He’s their second best spot up shooter behind Porter Jr, but that could work in his favor since Miami would plan to stop Porter Jr first. For the prop to hold a positive expected value, it must hit about 60% of the time here. That’s the case in my estimation, which makes it a profitable long-term play to me.
Michael Porter Jr Threes Made Leader (+290)
As stated above, Miami’s three-point defense allows a ton of open looks, and this will be especially true in this series because of Jokic’s unique skill set. The Heat defenders are also undersized, so Porter Jr’s 6’10” frame will allow him to get shots off over them.
Porter Jr shot a 41.4 3PT% on 7.3 attempts per game during the regular season. Against the Lakers, that jumped to a 42.4 3PT% on 8.3 attempts per game. He’s a combination of massive volume and elite efficiency, which deems him a desirable pick for the made threes leader prop.
It’s likely that the leader in this game will make 4-5 threes. Can Porter Jr hit that? Given his volume and skill, that’s a definite yes. And we only need him to accomplish this around 26% of the time for the play to hold a positive expected value. The fact that he’s in Denver too also provides more confidence since players tend to shoot better at home.
Nikola Jokic 12+ Assists (+210)
Jokic is going to slice and dice this 2-3 zone defense to perfection because he understands how to attack weak points. Denver surrounds him with excellent shooters and a timely cutter in Aaron Gordon, so Jokic can easily rack up assists. He led the NBA in touches and passes, so the opportunity will assuredly be there – it’s a matter of whether teammates hit shots. Given that the game is in Denver and the Nuggets are well-rested while Miami’s not, Jokic’s teammates should have the endurance advantage as well – this could translate into a couple of layups or dunks that usually wouldn’t be there.
Jokic has hit this in 8 of 15 games this postseason, which equals 53.3% of the time. For this +210 line to hold a positive expected value, Jokic must achieve 12 assists here only about 33% of the time. Overall, the odds are excellent here.