NBA Finals Game 1 Betting Guide: Consider These Key Stats When Betting the Total
Betting on the NBA can get a little overwhelming throughout the season because there are games every day, and there's just a lot to track throughout the season and entering every night -- spreads, over/unders, injuries, and so on.
But you can rely on numberFire to help. We have a detailed betting algorithm that projects out games to see how often specific betting lines hit. You can also track spread bet percentages at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Where can we identify value in tonight's NBA odds?
(All offensive, defensive, and net rating splits come from PBPStats.com and account for medium-, high-, and very high-leverage situations unless otherwise noted. Unless otherwise noted, all injury news and notes come from the official NBA injury report.)
Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets -9.0 (-110) - Lean
If the Nuggets don't win this series, it would go down as an all-time disappointment from a favorite in the NBA Finals.
When comparing these two teams' "Four Factors" from the playoffs, this just isn't even a close matchup:
Not only do the Nuggets comfortably lead all of these categories, but the reason the Miami Heat are a +350 underdog to win the series is that many of these marks are so significantly elevated from the mediocre regular season they posted. Miami's eFG% was 53.0% in the regular season, the sixth-worst mark in the NBA.
Altitude is also the perfect ingredient to cook up regression for the Heat's outside shot, too. Denver's regular-season foes shot 32.5% from three in Ball Arena, which was the worst mark in the NBA. The Nuggets allowed the 14th-most attempts per game (33.7), so it wasn't defense as much as rims clanking from the lack of aerial adjustment.
Until we see what path Erik Spoelstra possibly has to stop Nikola Jokic without a significant rotation contributor taller than 6'9", it's probably best to assume Denver blows the doors off of Miami. The Nuggets also don't let up late, setting the league's fifth-best mark for double-digit wins this season (29).
Under 219.0 (-110)
This is where I'll actually bet on tonight's game.
The aforementioned pace marks don't merit a total this high, so oddsmakers are expecting electric efficiency on both sides tonight. I just don't know if that's correct despite the obvious concerns around Miami's size.
As is, the Heat have had just two totals from oddsmakers at or above 219.0 points this postseason. They hit the over in both against Milwaukee (102.0 pace), but Denver's slow-footed tendencies should be a different story. Plus, as mentioned with the spread, this is a Heat team due for significant shooting regression at some point.
This is the lowest total for the Nuggets all postseason thus far against -- in theory -- its best matchup yet for Jokic. However, the Heat's 111.5 defensive rating is sixth-best in the playoffs to this point, and they've actually got some staying power there. Miami's 112.8 defensive rating was ninth-best in the NBA during the regular season.
Denver has hit this point total in 12 of their 15 games thus far, which is likely why a vast majority of bettors are flocking to the over. These two teams have a slow enough pace to feel comfortable fading that verdict.