NBA Finals Game 1: Denver Nuggets or Miami Heat? Best Bets for June 1

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler, center, drives to the rim between Denver Nuggets forward Will Barton, left, and center Nikola Jokic in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Thursday, June 1:


The play: NBA Finals Game 1, Heat +9 over Nuggets

The odds: -110

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 8:30 p.m. (ABC)

Our take: My first inclination since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals was” “The Nuggets are going to kill this team. Denver is going to win Game 1 by 20, and no one will be able to stop Jokic.” While I still think this is going to be a short series, and I like alternate bets on Denver to sweep or win in five games, I don’t think this first game is going to be a blowout.

Many people keep asking: Which will be a bigger factor? Denver’s nine-day layoff from playing a game or Miami’s emotional 4-3 roller-coaster series victory against the Celtics? Well, the answer probably is “both.”

It’s easy to see this game being one of those “feel out” kind of starts, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if both these teams are in the 40s at halftime (see secondary play below).

So while some think the under may be a better top play, I think this leads to a tighter finish. The fact Miami hasn’t had a chance to rest should lead to them having a better field-goal percentage – at least for this game until they realize they can’t cover the Joker.

Also, although Denver has won six straight games in this series and nine of the past 10, they haven’t won by more than nine points since Nov. 8, 2021.


The play: NBA Finals Game 1, under 219

The odds/bet: -110

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Our take: We all but teased this pick in the lead, thinking this will be a lower-scoring game, especially in the first half. (Maybe you like under 112.5 in the first half a little better? We’ll stick with the full game.)

Slow starts for Jamal Murray and some of his Nuggets teammates have been common, and that especially could be the case with a long layoff.

Also, this number has been going down a bit at many books, and is 218.5 at some places at the time this is written, which says those who like this play need to make it as early as possible.


Wednesday’s best bets

PGA Memorial Tournament: Xander Schauffele to finish in top 20 (PENDING)

PGA Memorial Tournament: Si Woo Kim to finish top 30 (PENDING)

Wednesday’s record: 0-0, 2 pending

Total for the week: 1-3, 2 pending

Final total for May: 32-27, 2 pending

Total for 2023: 120-132, 2 pending

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).


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