ESPN's fantasy basketball and basketball betting tips cheat sheet is your pregame destination for basketball betting predictions and our best intel and data, featuring ESPN's proprietary Basketball Power Index (BPI) to help you make smart fantasy and wagering decisions. NBA game odds for Game 2 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook.
What you need to know for Heat-Nuggets Game 2
The Denver Nuggets looked cohesive and calm in drubbing the Miami Heat in the opening game of the NBA Finals. It must be discouraging for Miami that they held Denver to a fairly modest offensive rating (around 111) and yet still seemed overwhelmed by the Nuggets' offensive firepower. The odds position Denver as sizable favorites for Game 2, while the series odds have dramatically shifted to Denver on most books, offering an implied probability for the series nearing 90%.
When it comes to the player pool for DFS contests and prop plays, I continue to believe Bam Adebayo is in a plus spot to produce big numbers. Denver seemed to be content to see Anthony Davis consume tons of possessions as an offensive engine for the Los Angeles Lakers in the conference finals while focusing on perimeter defense. A similar approach from Denver developed in Game 1, emboldening Adebayo's bid for another robust double-double. For Denver, my model likes Michael Porter Jr.'s potential to ascend as an offensive force in Game 2, especially as his shooting and scoring props appear achievable.
Before we get too swept into assuming a short series, the Heat have won nine games as underdogs during their inspired playoff run. A late rally in Game 1 saw Miami even come close to covering their 12th spread in 15 games as postseason underdogs. Which is to say, there could still be life left in betting on Miami's ideology that hungry dogs run faster.
-- Jim McCormick
Breaking down Heat-Nuggets Game 2
Records (Against the Spread)
Heat: 44-38 (30-49-3)
Nuggets: 53-29 (44-37-1)
Line: Nuggets (-8.5) Total: 215.5
Money Line: Nuggets (-385), Heat (+300)
Best bet: Heat +8.5. One of the oldest betting adages is to forget what you last saw. For Game 2, I expect the Heat to be fresher and much more situated than they were for the series opener. Denver is the better team but the Heat have enough shooting to keep this inside the number. It's also worth noting that throughout the Western Conference playoffs, the Nuggets trailed all Game 2 opponents in the fourth quarter and were underdogs on the live line. That speaks to forgetting what you last saw and backing the desperate team. -- Doug Kezirian
Best bet: Nikola Jokic over 27.5 points. Jokic just dropped 27 points in Game 1 despite attempting a playoff-low 12 shots from the field. What happens if Jokic attempts, say, 17 shots, which is a threshold he reached in 12 straight playoff games prior to Game 1 vs. Miami? I like the two-time MVP to have a more prolific shooting night in Game 2. -- Joe Fortenbaugh
Best bet: Jimmy Butler under 25.5 points. The market for this prop has gradually lowered since 28.5 in Game 7 against the Boston Celtics, as he is reportedly limited by a couple nagging injuries. However, I still think the under has value. Butler found matchup advantages against the Celtics, but Denver is showing resistance with considerable size. He was a willing passer in Game 1, only mustering 14 shot attempts. I expect similar limitations. -- Kezirian
Best bet: Gabe Vincent over 2.5 3-pointers. Vincent was the only effective 3-point shooter for the Heat in Game 1, knocking down 5 of 10 shots from behind the arc. Vincent has averaged 3.0 3PG over his past seven outings, going over 2.5 in four of those seven games. -- Andre Snellings
Best bet: Bam Adebayo over 0.5 blocks. I expect that Erik Spoelstra and the Heat will make a lot of adjustments after Game 1, and I think one of those will be to try to move Adebayo off Jokic for stretches of the game to act more as a rim protector. Similar to what the Lakers did several times last series with Anthony Davis. Adebayo had a blocked shot in four of the five games leading into this series, and I think he gets at least one in Game 2. -- Snellings
Best bet: Jamal Murray over 32.5 points + assists. Murray is in the midst of an epic playoffs run in which he has totaled more than 32.5 points alone in five games. He is coming off a 26-point, 10-assist double-double in Game 1, and has gone over 32.5 points plus assists in four of his past five games. -- Snellings
Best bet. Michael Porter Jr. over 23.5 points and rebounds. MPJ ruled the boards with 13 of them in Game 1 and came up just shy of hitting his scoring prop with 14 points thanks to some horrific shooting (5-of-16). The Nuggets will be looking for more of the same aggressiveness from him in Game 2 along with some better shooting, and he looks as spry and healthy as ever right now. -- Steve Alexander
Best bet: Caleb Martin over 12.5 points. The Heat's playoff hero was a no-show Thursday when he hit just 1 of 7 shots and never got to the line, finishing with just three points. He has been one of the Heat's more aggressive players on offense this postseason, and if they are going to get a road win in this series, Martin is going to have to go off. I expect that Erik Spoelstra has big things planned for Martin on Sunday night. -- Alexander