NBA Finals Game 2 Betting Guide: Does Miami Have a Path to Compete?

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 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

Miami Heat ML (+295) - Lean

As mentioned on Friday's episode of Covering the Spread, if I was forced toward a spread bet for my house, I'd likely default to the Nuggets -- as I did in Game 1. However, I won't have any action on another huge number when my overall takeaway from Game 1 was to be impressed by the Heat.

When looking at Basketball Reference's Four Factors, Miami -- on light rest and a travel disadvantage -- did an outstanding job in the largest areas of concern for them entering the series:

Team Pace eFG% TOV% ORB% FT/FGA ORtg PTS
DEN (1-0) 90.9 0.557 10.2 15.8 0.203 114.4 104
MIA (0-1) 90.9 0.474 7.6 22.0 0.021 102.3 93

If you'd have told me before Game 1 that Miami had a 6.2 percentage-point gap over Denver on the offensive glass, I'd have thought they'd won. The clean game, represented by just a 7.6% turnover rate, adds to that case. Of course, the Heat -- particularly Caleb Martin and Max Strus -- just couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat on Thursday.

Normally, I'd look at this table and be all over Miami's spread and moneyline for this game given the lopsided lines; we'd just need the shooting numbers to flip.

Here's the problem -- Denver has shot below a 50.0 eFG% only once in the playoffs. They still beat Phoenix that night. Plus, Denver's road opponents shot the worst three-point rate (32.5%) in the league this year. Because of the altitude advantage, Miami isn't guaranteed to bounce back in the shooting department.

The Nuggets seem to be an offensive machine that is allergic to cold shooting nights, but if Denver has one, the Heat showed in Game 1 that they can play well enough to win. If I have any action on a side, it'll be this small dart.

Under 214.5 (-110) - Lean

Betting the total in Game 2 is a double-edged sword where the number will dictate my action.

I forecasted a 96.1 combined pace for Game 1 based on the teams' playoff averages, and the 90.9 pace we got was significantly slower. We saw just 197 total points, so it should be a slam dunk to go back to the under at a line of 214.5 on Sunday, right? Wrong.

Both of these teams put together a horrendous effort in terms of perimeter defense. Attempts speak louder than the percentage in basketball, and both clubs hoisted at least 46 threes on Thursday. They were uncharacteristically cold in Game 1:

TeamWide Open
(6+ ft.)
(4-6 ft.)
DEN (1-0)33.3%37.7%30.0%39.5%
MIA (0-1)31.3%44.5%42.9%39.5%

Across the board, these teams largely underperformed on all three-point attempts considered "open." Miami's wide-open looks are another reason I was encouraged by Game 1, but they were due for regression from that 44.5% playoff mark -- said regression hit like a truck. Denver was less sharp from three than normal, too.

We've still got a significant cushion for this under to hit given what we saw on Thursday -- these teams can make more shots and still hit this under. It'll just be a tight squeeze if either side is scorching hot, so this is just a lean until we get more clarity on where this total is trending.