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NBA betting, odds: Three best bets for Game 1 of the NBA Finals

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The NBA Finals will feature a showdown between the top-seeded Denver Nuggets and the eighth-seeded Miami Heat.

Nuggets -8.5 (-115)

The Nuggets are in their first NBA Finals appearance and have been dominant in the playoffs, defeating the Timberwolves, Suns and sweeping the Lakers. The Heat are underdogs but have shocked many by taking down the Bucks, Knicks and Celtics. This series is poised to be an epic battle.

The Nuggets have a rest advantage, with 9 days off compared to just 2 for the Heat. Historically, the Nuggets have performed well with extra rest, while the Heat may be worn down from their difficult series. However, the Heat have defied expectations as underdogs in the playoffs. The Nuggets have home court advantage, where they are undefeated in the playoffs.

The Nuggets have the best offense and a top defense in the playoffs. They have held opponents to few 3-point attempts and makes. The Heat’s 3-point shooting has fueled their run, so limiting those opportunities would benefit the Nuggets. The Nuggets also take care of the ball well and share it efficiently on offense.

The Heat have gotten strong performances from role players, but the Nuggets’ size and length could challenge them. The Nuggets also dominate in the paint, which could overwhelm the Heat’s frontcourt. Of course, the Nuggets have Nikola Jokic, the most versatile offensive player who the Lakers couldn’t stop. The Heat play zone defense, but the Nuggets are good against zone defenses.

Jimmy Butler under 27.5 points (-115)

Jimmy Butler’s scoring has declined and he’s had some injury concerns. He has a high usage for the Heat, so the Nuggets will focus on slowing him down and forcing others to beat them. Butler has gone under 27.5 points in 8 of his last 12 games and 6 of his last 7 against the Nuggets.

Jamal Murray over 10.5 rebounds + assists (-120)

Jamal Murray, the Nuggets’ second-leading scorer, contributes in other ways beyond scoring and should exceed 10.5 rebounds + assists. He is second on the team in potential assists and rebound chances. While the Heat will work to limit his scoring, Murray’s minutes, hustle and playmaking will allow him to impact the game. He has gone over 10.5 rebounds + assists in 4 of his last 5 home games and most playoff games this year.

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