Can the Miami Heat Avoid Falling into 3-1 NBA Finals Deficit vs Denver Nuggets?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jun 8, 2023 08:00 PM
Can the Miami Heat Avoid Falling into 3-1 NBA Finals Deficit vs Denver Nuggets?

The Denver Nuggets are back in control of the 2023 NBA Finals after a decisive win in Game 3 on Wednesday night. Can the Miami Heat punch back in the next showdown, pick up a victory and spare themselves from the inevitable 3-1 deficit delirium?

One glance at the updated odds to win the NBA Finals suggests that neither linemakers nor bettors believe they can. But are they correct? We'll get to that. First, though, here's everything you need to know about the next matchup:

  • What: Nuggets vs. Heat Game 4
  • Date: Friday, June 9
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. EST
  • Where: Kaseya Center in Miami, Florida
  • Series Score: Denver leads Miami 2-1

Many thought the Heat had somehow cracked the code on how to beat the Nuggets after their rousing come-from-behind victory in Game 2. Really, it turns out Miami just made more of their outside shots. The Heat shot nearly 50 percent from deep in Game 2 while outscoring the Nuggets by 18 points from beyond the arc. On Wednesday night, in Game 3, they canned under 32 percent of their triples. And though they still won the three-point battle (again by 18 points), their shaky finishing at the rim left them susceptible to a double-digit loss.

That's far from ideal. Especially because the Heat were at home. And that's probably why the latest online NBA betting odds for Game 4 have them as underdogs yet again:

To WinBetOnlineBovadaBetUS
Miami Heat+134+115+140
Denver Nuggets-158-127-165

Like always, you'll want to double-check these NBA online betting odds until you actually submit your wager. There isn't as much time in between games this time around. But Game 4 won't tip off until Friday, June 9, at 8:30 p.m. EST, and our Heat vs. Nuggets betting odds are accurate as of Wednesday, June 7. Changes will be made to the lines between now and then—particularly if Miami clears the injured Tyler Herro for action in Game 4.

Anyway, it would not be an overstatement to say the Heat's championship hopes are on the line Friday night. How will they respond? Let's get to our latest batch of 2023 NBA Finals predictions.

What Adjustments Can the Miami Heat Make Against the Denver Nuggets in Game 4?

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is the best in the business. He's shown as much in this series. After suffering a loss in Game 1, he futzed and fiddled with his rotations and defensive coverages in Game 2. Miami won. The same sequence could play out now.

At the same time, it's not quite clear what other buttons can be pressed by the Heat. They have already maxed out their rotation. Miami may just be at the point where they need to make more of their threes and shoot better than a disastrous 8-of-23 at the rim (34.8 percent). And it's reasonable to assume they'll post higher clips in Game 4. Then again, they haven't shot the ball particularly well from deep at home. Miami is hitting 35 percent of their triples on their own court during the postseason, compared to 41 percent on the road. That's bizarre. And potentially damning.

Of course, defending the Nuggets is the bigger concern. Denver carved up the Heat in Game 3 by spamming the Nikola Jokic-Jamal Murray two-man game. Miami had no answer. And even if they pull out more stops for Game 4, the Nuggets have a fairly large margin for error. They shot just 27.8 percent from distance on Wednesday night and still won. What's more, they've yet to have a good game from beyond the arc this series. Denver is knocking down just 29.4 percent of their treys over the past three games.

In the end, that's the difference for us—not just ahead of Friday night, but for the rest of the series. The Nuggets have yet to deliver their best punch and still lead the Heat. We're not so sure Miami can hang when that inevitably changes.

OSB Prediction: Denver Nuggets (-158)

Denver Nuggets To beat the Miami Heat

Can Miami Keep Things Closer in Game 4?

Despite trailing by double digits in each of the first three games, linemakers continue to have some semblance of confidence in Miami keeping things close during Game 4. You can see the latest point spread betting odds for Heat vs. Nuggets below:

  • Denver Nuggets, -3.5 (-110)
  • Miami Heat, +3.5 (-110)

We can't bring ourselves to invest in Miami covering. Only one of the Heat's home games this postseason has been determined by fewer than four points. They also have a losing record on their own turf. It's Denver all the way for us.

OSB Prediction: Denver Nuggets, -3.5 (-110)

Denver Nuggets To cover the point spread against the Miami Heat

Don't Expect the Heat and Nuggets to Change Up Their Pace of Play

Take a look at the latest over/under betting odds for Nuggets vs. Heat Game 4:

  • Over 210.5 (-110)
  • Under 210.5 (-110)

These lines feel like a gift. The "under" is 2-1 in this series. We thought linemakers might rip the total down to 203.5 or something. Sure, the Heat and Nuggets could both always go up from three. But the rate of play in this series lends itself to lower-scoring games. Miami and Denver are averaging under 91 possessions per 48 minutes so far. That would by far and away rank as the slowest pace in the league during the regular season.

To that end, consider parlaying the Nuggets' moneyline with the "under." There are sites from our reviews of the best online sportsbooks that offer these same-game parlay services. And if your wager pans out, you stand to make more than 2-to-1 on your investment.

OSB Prediction: Under 210.5 (-110)

Heat and Nuggets To score under 210.5 combined points

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works 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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