Miami takes 3-0 lead, listed as small fave in G4 vs. Boston

Over the next two nights, Denver and Miami will attempt to deliver broom treatment in the Western and Eastern Conference finals, respectively.

What were the odds of either of those events happening? Well, we’re glad you asked.

Denver (64-32 straight up, 53-43 against the spread) get the first crack at it tonight at Arena, where Los Angeles (52-46 SU, 50-46-1 ATS) is installed as a three-point home favorite with a total of 224. The Nuggets are +130 or +135 on the money line.

Michael Malone’s team captured a 119-108 win in Saturday’s Game 3 as a 5.5-point road underdog, hooking up money-line supporters with a generous +190 payout. The 228 combined points went ‘over’ the 223-point total thanks to free throws from Jamal Murray with 57.1 seconds remaining.

Murray led the way with 37 points, seven rebounds, two steals and six assists compared to just one turnover. He hit 15-of-29 field-goal attempts and 5-of-11 launches from 3-point range. Nikola Jokic added 24 points, eight assists, six rebounds and one steal, while Michael Porter Jr. finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists without a turnover.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 17 points on 4-of-7 makes from downtown, while Bruce Brown contributed 15 points, five rebounds and five assists without a turnover. The Nuggets had an incredible 30/5 assist-to-turnover ratio.

In the losing effort, Anthony Davis had 28 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks for the Lakers, who had a 45-39 rebounding advantage. LeBron James finished with 23 points, 12 assists and seven boards. Austin Reaves added 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

L.A. took a 94-93 lead with 7:48 left thanks to two free throws from Rui Hachimura, who finished with 13 points and six boards. However, Denver responded with a 13-0 run that started with treys from Jeff Green, Brown and Murray on three consecutive trips.

By the time a Hachimura bucket off an assist from James stopped the bleeding, the Lakers trailed 106-96 with only 4:31 remaining. When James cut the deficit to 108-101 with 3:34 left, Jokic answered 17 seconds later with a 3-ball of his own to essentially insert the dagger into the game and the Lakers’ season.

L.A. goes into tonight’s Game 4 with a 30-19 SU record and a 27-20-1 ATS mark in 49 home games. The Nuggets are 22-25 both SU and ATS in 47 road assignments. The ‘over’ is 2-1 in the first three games of the series, hitting in Games 1 and 3.

Boston (65-33 SU, 53-44-1 ATS) went into last night’s Game 3 at Miami with its back against the wall after losing Games 1 and 2 at home. The Celtics ended up closing as 4.5-point road favorites at most spots.

After the Heat went ahead 17-16 on a 3-pointer by Gabe Vincent with 5:04 left in the first quarter, Boston never led again. Miami led 30-22 going into the second quarter and took a 61-46 advantage into halftime.

Boston never got closer than 12 in the second half and trailed by as many as 33 points in a 128-102 loss. The 230 combined points jumped ‘over’ the 214.5-point total with 2:31 left on a driving layup by the Celtics’ Payton Pritchard.

I went 2-1 ATS with my picks on VegasInsider, cashing ‘over’ 214.5 and Miami’s Team Total to go ‘over’ 105.5 points. My loss was on Boston’s Team Total to go ‘over’ 209.5.

With the exception of Vincent for the Heat and Marcus Smart for the Celtics, no starters were on the court in the final stanza. For Boston, Jaylen Brown (12 points, six rebounds, two assists and three turnovers) and Jayson Tatum (14 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and three turnovers) combined to go 12-of-35 from the field and 1-of-14 from 3-point range.

Vincent scored a game-high 29 points on 11-of-14 FGAs and 6-of-9 makes from long distance. Duncan Robinson splashed the nets at a 5-of-7 clip from downtown in a 22-point effort, while Caleb Martin had 18 points, three rebounds, one steal and four assists without a turnover. Jimmy Butler finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals.

The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas has released its updated numbers going into tonight’s NBA action:

Denver is the -200 ‘chalk’ to win the 2023 NBA Finals. Miami has +240 odds, followed by the Celtics (14/1) and Lakers (30/1). The updated series price in the West finals has Denver at -4000 odds, leaving L.A. at +1400 (or 14/1) on the comeback. Miami is -1100 in the East finals, with Boston at +650.

For Tuesday’s Game 4 in Miami, the Heat are favored by 1.5 points at most spots. The total is 216.

The ‘over’ is 3-0 in the series with combined scores of 230, 239 and 216 points. The ‘over’ has cashed at a 16-5 clip for Miami in its last 21 games, while the Celtics have seen the ‘over’ go 11-3 in their last 14 contests.

With last night’s win, Miami improved to 12-3 both SU and ATS in its last 15 games. The Heat are 11-2 ATS with 10 outright wins in their last 13 games as underdogs.

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