Day three of the NBA’s reboot tips off in Orlando with game one featuring the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets. This is a very interesting game to look at for sports bettors, as Miami is technically one of two “home” teams in the league’s restart.
On the other hand, both Miami and Denver have had some players deal with positive COVID-19 tests. How they heal up — and if that sickness spreads throughout either team — will be worth monitoring.
For now, though, bettors are just looking for a Heat vs. Nuggets prediction. Let’s take a look at the most recent odds and my ultimate pick for this showdown.
Heat vs. Nuggets Odds
Heat to Win+120
Nuggets to Win-140
The best odds for this game are presently at Bovada, which is the only site that is even offering a moneyline as I write this.
Jokic should be back in the fold, but it’s a little odd Denver is the favorite here. That’s the case across most sportsbooks, however, while the total is really low.
These are two of the slowest teams in the league (27th and 29th in pace), while they’re literally tied for the 12th most efficient defense in the league. The total makes sense but still feels really low given the league’s rule changes and both offenses ranking in the top 11 in terms of efficiency.
To get to my Heat vs. Nuggets pick, let’s take a closer look at how these two teams match up.
Heat vs. Nuggets Game Preview
I don’t like to get tripped up by home/away splits too much, especially since literally nobody in the NBA restart has a home court edge. The Magic are playing in Orlando, but not at their actual home stadium.
That said, Miami is much more of a home team here than Denver. That could be worth pointing out, since they went an astounding 27-5 at home this season. Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s everything.
Denver, meanwhile, has historically not been great on the road. They’re a respectable 18-14 away from Denver this year, but playing the rest of the season on the road isn’t exactly ideal for them.
From an actual matchup perspective, this one is very interesting. These teams both like to play slow, they defend well, and they have a pretty nice inside/outside attack.
Miami holds a slight edge on the glass and is a way better three-point shooting team (1st in the NBA). That could be combated by a very good Denver perimeter defense, while Gary Harris is a potential stopper to stick on Jimmy Butler.
Nikola Jokic and Bam Adebayo may cancel each other out down low, and I’ll give Miami the edge in overall offensive firepower. Denver did win the only meeting this year quite easily, however, while the Nuggets have won three straight in the series.
Prediction and Pick
Neither of these teams blows you away when you look at the ATS data. Miami is the more reliable option (33-30-2), while Denver comes in at 29-32-4 on the year.
The Nuggets are technically the away team here and are pretty tough to trust (13-17-2) in that regard, while they’re also just 22-24-3 against the spread this year when favored. Miami, meanwhile, doesn’t give us any help as 9-11-1 ATS as underdogs.
See? None of that sways me either way.
The kicker for me is that Denver has to make the hike to Florida, and this is already where Miami plays. Given how disruptive this long layoff and relocation has to be, that has to be considered a pretty big edge.
In a matchup that is already even between two similar teams, I think that’s a big deal. The fact that Miami rebounds better, has such terrific depth, and can go off from outside only compounds that logic.
Miami also happens to offer better value. I think they snag the win here, and with the spread being so tiny, I’d just rather get the extra money back on that +120 moneyline.
Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.
When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.