Who Takes Game 3 of the 2023 NBA Finals: Denver Nuggets or Miami Heat?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jun 5, 2023 08:00 PM
Who Takes Game 3 of the 2023 NBA Finals: Denver Nuggets or Miami Heat?

Well folks, we officially have ourselves an ultra-compelling 2023 NBA Finals.

Many assumed the Denver Nuggets would end up steamrolling the Miami Heat. That sentiment didn't change after Game 1. Denver's odds to win the NBA Finals skyrocketed to around -300 following their commanding Thursday night victory. But the Heat came raging back in Game 2. That sets up an epic affair in the next showdown. Here are all the details you need to know:

  • What: Nuggets vs. Heat Game 3
  • Date: Wednesday, June 7
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. EST
  • Where: Kaseya Center in Miami, Florida
  • Series Score: 1-1

For a split second in Game 2, it appeared as if the Nuggets would cruise to a 2-0 series lead. The Heat trailed by as many as 15 points and didn't have a great answer for Nikola Jokic's scoring arsenal. Everything changed at the start of the fourth quarter. Denver went cold, and Miami went nuclear, outscoring the Nuggets 36-25 while hitting five of their nine three-point attempts.

This theoretically gives the Heat all of the momentum entering Game 3. And yet, despite playing on their own turf, the latest 2023 NBA playoff betting odds remain stacked against them:

To WinBetOnlineBovadaBetUS
Miami Heat+120+102+100
Denver Nuggets-142-115-112

Definitely remember to double-check these online betting odds for the 2023 NBA Finals until you actually submit your wager. Our Nuggets vs. Heat betting odds are accurate as of Monday, June 5. The moneyline, point spread and over/under will all shift between now and the opening tip-off on Wednesday, June 7. Most notably, the Heat are still waiting for a status report on Tyler Herro, who hasn't played since the start of the first round. Many expect him to suit up in Game 3 or 4, and his return will definitely have an impact on the odds.

It is nevertheless headline-worthy that the Nuggets remain favored to edge out the Heat in Game 3. This runs counter to the notion that Miami has figured out something about how to play Denver. Which way should you direct your bets? Let's get to our fresh batch of 2023 NBA Finals predictions!

Oddsmakers are Smart to Back the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of the 2023 NBA Finals

Sometimes, it's easy to overreact when a team blows a big lead at home. Select analysts crucified the Nuggets for blowing a 15-point advantage on Sunday night. They were well within their rights. But one poor game from Denver doesn't portend doom. 

While they are playing on the road, the Nuggets actually have a couple of things working in their favor entering Game 3. For starters, the Heat won't shoot roughly 50 percent from three on that much volume again. Sure, they have been hot from beyond the arc for much of these playoffs. But Miami is shooting worse from distance when at home (35.9 percent) than they are on the road (41 percent).

The Nuggets, meanwhile, should get better outside performances from two of their three best offensive players: Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. The duo has combined to go 8-of-32 from beyond the arc (25 percent) through the first two games. At least one of them should be hotter on Wednesday night, which bodes well for Denver's offense.

And finally, it's a good sign for the Nuggets that they almost won Game 2 despite a thermonuclear offensive performance from the Heat. So many chalked up the comeback to Miami's defense. It wasn't that. Jokic dropped 40 points. The Nuggets missed some shots they normally make, but they still averaged 1.26 points per possession—an elite mark. The Heat are the team that played above their head in Game 2. That shouldn't change your view of this series at all.

OSB Prediction: Denver Nuggets (-142)

Denver Nuggets To beat the Miami Heat

How Close will Game 3 Between Miami and Denver End Up?

On the heels of a blowout in Game 1, we were treated to a Game 2 showdown in which the outcome remained in doubt until the final shot. Linemakers are expecting a similar type of matchup in Game 3, as you can see from the latest NBA point spread betting odds for Nuggets vs. Heat:

  • Denver Nuggets, -2.5 (-108)
  • Miami Heat, +2.5 (-112)

Denver's spread offers better value than their moneyline, and we're pouncing on it. Indeed, Miami has played in more than their fair of one-possession games. But the Nuggets have actually led by double-digits through more than half of the 96 minutes of basketball that have been played so far. If not for a couple of scorching-hot fourth quarters from the Heat, Denver could be up 2-0 with a monster point differential.

For those who can stomach it, you can try parlaying the Nuggets' moneyline and spread. Certain sites from our reviews of the top online sportsbooks allow same-game parlays if you need recommendations. Combining those wagers takes you to a 2.3-to-1 payout—much flashier than the separate odds of -142 (moneyline) and -108 (spread).

OSB Prediction: Denver Nuggets, -2.5 (-108)

Denver Nuggets To cover the point spread against the Miami Heat

Pay Close Attention to How Well the Heat and Nuggets Shoot from Three in the 2023 NBA Finals

The final score of this series is very much tied to whether Denver and Miami hit enough in their threes. The latest over/under betting odds for Game 3 of the NBA Finals suggest linemakers expect both teams to shoot well from distance:

  • Over 214.5 (-110)
  • Under 214.5 (-110)

The raw numbers suggest this is an easy "over" wager. The Heat are averaging 110 points per game at home in the playoffs while the Nuggets are racking up 117-plus points on the road. Yet, we've already seen one of these matchups (Game 1) fail to eclipse 200 total points. And while Game 2 hit the "over," it just barely cleared at 220.

What's more, opponents are averaging under 103 points per game in the playoffs when playing inside the Heat's arena. That's a cautionary tale. But we're ignoring it. The Nuggets offense is good enough to bust through. We trust them to hold up their end of the bargain.

We do not, however, trust the Heat to hold up theirs. Factor in that these two teams are averaging under 90 total possessions per 48 minutes, and we're inclined to work the "under."

OSB Prediction: Under 214.5 (-110)

Heat and Nuggets To score under 214.5 combined points

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one to use for all of your 2023 NBA Finals betting:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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