Nuggets favored by nine in Game 5 of NBA Finals

Nuggets favored by nine in Game 5 of NBA Finals

Denver (68-33 straight up, 57-44 against the spread) can win its first NBA championship tonight when it hosts Miami in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

As of early this afternoon, most books had the Nuggets installed as nine-point home favorites with a total of 209.5. The Heat were +300 to +320 (Caesars) on the money line.

For first-half wagers, Denver was favored by five with a total of 106.5 points. The Heat were +220 to go into halftime with the lead. The Nuggets are -3 in the first quarter with a total of 53.5 points, while Miami is +170 on the money line.

Mike Malone’s team has won by margins of 11, 15 and 13 points in Games 1, 3 and 4, respectively. The ‘under’ is 3-1 in the series with combined scores of 197, 219, 203 and 203 points. Game 2 resulted in the lone ‘over’ and only win both SU and ATS for Miami, which rallied from an eight-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to win a 111-108 decision.

Denver won a 108-95 decision at Miami in Friday’s Game 4 as a three-point road favorite. Aaron Gordon led five Nuggets in double figures with 27 points, seven rebounds, one steal and six assists compared to only two turnovers. The veteran forward made 11-of-15 field-goal attempts, 3-of-4 launches from 3-point land and 2-of-3 free throws.

Bruce Brown came off the bench to score 21 points. He added four rebounds, two assists, one steal, one blocked shot and played turnover-free basketball. Brown buried 8-of-11 FGAs and 3-of-5 attempts from downtown.

Nikola Jokic picked up his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter, but the Nuggets didn’t give an inch in his absence thanks to the spectacular play of Gordon and Brown. Jokic was probably on his way to going ‘over’ his props for points scored and rebounds until getting sent to the bench with foul trouble.

Instead, bettors backing his props to go ‘over’ for points, rebounds and assists suffered losses. Jokic finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocked shots. His points total was 29.5 or 30.5, while his numbers for assists and rebounds were 9.5 and 12.5, respectively.

Jamal Murray contributed 15 points and three rebounds, but he had an incredible 12/0 assist-to-turnover ratio. He is the only player in NBA Finals history to produce double figures in assists in four consecutive games.

In the losing effort, Jimmy Butler led Miami with 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists compared to just one turnover. Bam Adebayo added 20 points, 11 boards and three assists, but he coughed up seven turnovers.

Duncan Robinson had another solid performance off the bench, making 5-of-7 FGAs. He had 12 points, three assists, one rebound and one steal. Kyle Lowry had 13 points, seven assists and three boards, while Caleb Martin finished with 12 points and five boards. Kevin Love logged only 18:19 of playing time, but he did contribute 12 points and four rebounds. He hit 4-of-6 FGAs and 3-of-5 attempts from long distance.

With the exception of the first quarter in Game 2, Miami starting two guard Max Strus’s shooting has been a disaster in the series. In Games 1, 3 and 4 combined, he’s scored only three points while making just 1-of-16 FGAs.

However, if we’re going to bash Strus’s shooting, we must also point out that he’s dished out 14 assists in the series without committing a turnover. In fact, Strus hasn’t coughed up a turnover in 13 straight games. He has a 32/5 assist-to-turnover ratio in 22 postseason games.

Miami’s Gabe Vincent was dynamite in the first two games of the NBA Finals. In the series opener, he had 19 points and five assists compared to just one turnover. He buried 7-of-14 FGAs and 5-of-10 hoists from downtown.

Then in Game 2, Vincent drained 8-of-12 FGAs and 4-of-6 attempts from 3-point territory. He finished with 23 points and three assists compared to just one turnover.

But in Games 3 and 4, Vincent had only nine points and one assist combined. He made just 3-of-16 FGAs and 1-of-10 shots from 3-point range.

Miami (58-48 SU, 45-57-2 ATS) faced a 3-1 deficit in the 2020 NBA Finals when it was facing the Lakers down in the bubble in Orlando. In that Game 5 situation, the Heat forced Game 6 by beating Los Angeles 111-108 as a seven-point underdog.

Butler refused to lose on that night, carrying his team to victory with 35 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, five steals and one blocked shot. Robinson added 26 points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal, burying 7-of-13 attempts from 3-point range.

Miami star guard Tyler Herro has been upgraded to ‘questionable’ tonight. Barring a setback in warmups, he’ll be in uniform and attempt to make his first appearance since breaking his right hand in Game 1 vs. Milwaukee back on April 16.

In 67 regular-season games, Herro averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.

Miami has been an underdog of 7.5 points or more 13 times this year, compiling a 10-3 ATS record. The Heat own a 14-6 spread record with 12 outright wins in its last 20 games as an underdog.

Denver has produced a 43-8 SU record and a 32-19 ATS mark in 51 home games this season.

PREDICTION: I’m on the Heat +9 tonight for one unit. 



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