Nuggets at Heat in NBA Finals Game 4 and a Shohei Ohtani pick: Best Bets for June 9

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Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) drives to the basket as Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (50) defends during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Finals basketball game, Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

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 Friday, June 9:

TOP PLAY

The play: NBA Finals Game 4, Nuggets -3½ over Heat

The odds: -110

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

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

Our take: The NBA playoffs are often an unpredictable roller-coaster, with teams bouncing back right when you’re ready to count them out. Sometimes it even seems like the officials are involved, trying to extend the series by giving the team that’s trailing a friendly whistle at some crucial times.

But throughout the past six weeks, the Denver Nuggets have been largely immune to that. They took out the Minnesota Timberwolves in five games, the Phoenix Suns in six and then swept the Los Angeles Lakers in a series where it seemed there would be a huge incentive in the NBA extending things a little further.

The Nuggets did lose Game 2 of the Finals at home to Miami on Sunday night, but they bounced back with an easy win in Game 3 and now can take complete control of the series.

This does seem like a perfect bounce-back spot for the Heat, who have been surpassing expectations all postseason long. But I’m skeptical of that. It took Miami some great 3-point shooting (17 for 35) to hold on to that Game 2 victory by three points; there was talk of Erik Spoelstra and staff figuring out how to slow the Denver offense afterward, but the truth is, the Nuggets have scored nearly 1.18 points per possession in this series even with less-than-average 3-point shooting.

In fact, Denver won the second half of Game 3 by 10 points, pulling away from Miami despite making just a single 3-pointer. The two-man offense between Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, who have averaged 57 points and 17 assists between them in the series, has been too good, especially when combined with Denver’s advantages in rebounding and the transition game.

It seems a safer bet that Denver will improve its long-range shooting than Miami will have another outlier 3-point game. The Nuggets pull away again and move within a win of their first title.

MLB MONEY LINE

The play: MLB money line, Mariners over Angels

The odds: +102

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 9:40 p.m. (AppleTV+)

Our take: The Angels just swept the Cubs and have Shohei Ohtani on the hill, and the Mariners have been slumping, so this seems like a strange bet, but there are several factors pointing toward the visitors.

One is the opposing starting pitcher, Luis Castillo, who has been brilliant this season and will stay on the short list of American League Cy Young contenders (as will Ohtani, of course).

But more to the point, Ohtani actually hasn’t been a dominant starter lately, allowing at least four earned runs in four of his past seven starts. His control has wavered — and one of the teams that has been the most patient against him this season was the Mariners, in an April meeting in Seattle when the M’s walked four times and had two hit batters. They couldn’t take advantage in that one, but with Castillo on the mound, they’ll only need to scratch across a handful of runs to pull a small upset in this one.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Thursday’s best bets

Stanley Cup Final Game 3: Golden Knights over Panthers (LOST)

MLB: Cubs over Angels (LOST)

Thursday’s record: 0-2

Total for the week: 1-6, 1 pending

Total for June: 5-10, 1 pending

Total for 2023: 126-143, 1 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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