The Denver Nuggets will look to shake off the rust and take a 1-0 series lead over the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. Sportsbook Review betting analyst Jon Metler shares his top NBA player props and best bets for Thursday using the best NBA odds.
Jamal Murray's performance in the Western Conference Finals was absolutely incredible. You would think that I'd be eagerly placing Over bets on his points prop for Game 1 at our best sports betting apps. However, that's not the case as the value lies elsewhere in the NBA player props market.
Our best NBA betting sites are telling a different story when it comes to Murray's points prop, and as much as I love the player and enjoy Over bets like everyone else, I also value winning my bets and giving due respect to the numbers. That's why, for our NBA Finals predictions, I might need to adopt a slightly different strategy, starting with Murray's points prop in Game 1.
Here are our top NBA player props and best bets for Thursday's NBA Finals Game 1 (odds via our best NBA betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
(Odds via FanDuel)
- Miami Heat vs. Denver Nuggets (-9)
Thursday’s NBA best bets
- Player prop: Jamal Murray Under 25.5 points vs. Heat (-104 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Player prop: Jamal Murray Over 5.5 assists vs. Heat (-112 via BetRivers) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Player prop: Jeff Green Over 4.5 points vs. Heat (+110 via PointsBet) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Thursday’s NBA player prop picks
Player prop: Jamal Murray Under 25.5 points vs. Heat (-104 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Before Game 1 of the NBA Finals has even begun, the market has already put me in full "fun police" mode for this series and our Heat vs. Nuggets predictions for Game 1. I'm placing a bet on the Under for Jamal Murray, who was on fire in the Western Conference Finals, averaging a whopping 32.5 points per game and outscoring everyone else in the series.
The NBA Finals odds will attract a larger betting audience than any other games this season, resulting in a massive handle at the best sportsbooks. I believe this won't be the only Under bet we make in this series, given the public's tendency to favor Over bets, especially for players who performed exceptionally well in their previous series.
During Murray's series against the Los Angeles Lakers, his point total increased from 23.5 to 25.5 points due to his outstanding performance. This adjustment to 25.5 points is the reason why we see value in betting the Under for Murray in Game 1. Our projections indicate that Murray is expected to score 24.3 points on Thursday, which allows us to price the Under 25.5 points at -140.
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Among our best NBA betting sites, FanDuel offers the best price for this Under at -104. It wouldn't surprise me if the odds move closer to -125 by Thursday morning. DraftKings has already shifted from -105 to -110, and Pinnacle currently sits at -130, indicating some momentum toward the Under. This line movement supports our projection, and the best part is that you can still get the Under at -104 on FanDuel without paying a premium for this information.
I also played this Under in our best NBA parlay for Game 1.
Player prop: Jamal Murray Over 5.5 assists vs. Heat (-112 via BetRivers) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Get ready to break a sweat every time Murray gets his hands on the ball in Game 1 because I'm about to make things interesting with this bet. Not only are we going Under on his points, but we're also playing the Over on his assists prop. Our hope is for Murray to step up as more of a facilitator in Thursday's Game 1 rather than focusing on scoring. So, every time he touches that ball, you'll be extra motivated to cheer for him to dish it out now.
According to projections, Murray is expected to drop 6.3 dimes against the Heat on Thursday. This allows us to price the Over 5.5 assists at -140. This bet shows a positive expected value of 10% based on this projection.
When I noticed that most projections were leaning toward the Over for Murray in Game 1, I immediately started tracking this bet once the props were released. However, I held off on placing it because I was a bit concerned about the lack of market support for where I believed this number should move. But that's no longer the case! Pinnacle just made a significant move, shifting the Over from -113 to -139. It's like an alarm going off, signaling that it's time for us to strike.
It may take some time for the other best NBA betting sites to catch up with this line movement, but don't wait until the last minute to place your bet, as this edge will begin to disappear throughout the day. Currently, BetRivers offers the best price at -112, while Caesars, BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and bet365 all have the Over trading at -115, at least for now.
Player prop: Jeff Green Over 4.5 points vs. Heat (+110 via PointsBet) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Guess what? He's still in the NBA! Even though he usually sees around 16 minutes of action per game, there's another angle to consider here. The Nuggets are currently trading as 9-point favorites, and if the game starts to get out of hand, Green might see some extended playing time in the fourth quarter. We're definitely not counting on that scenario when it comes to the projections, but it's a nice little bonus that could come into play with this bet.
Let's give some credit to PointsBet because not many of our best sports betting apps are even offering a price on Green. But here's the thing—it's a bad price for them, but great for us! So, now it's time to make our opinion known and let them know exactly what we think about it.
Green is expected to score 5.5 points on Thursday according to the projections, which is well above the total of 4.5 points. And when you see that it's trading at +110, the value becomes clear. Based on this projection, we can price Green at -125 to score more than 4.5 points.
PointsBet is the sportsbook for this bet, offering a rogue price of +110 on Green. BetMGM and bet365 are the only other sportsbooks offering this prop, but they have the Over priced at -105. Just the difference between -105 and +110 alone increases your expected value on this bet from 8% to 17%. And the edge we’ve found with this +110 is further amplified by the fact that Pinnacle is trading the Over at -119. All signs point to PointsBet for this one!
NBA best bets made by 06/01/2023 at 4:05 p.m. ET.
NBA Finals best bets and previews
- NBA Finals predictions
- NBA Finals preview
- Denver Nuggets NBA Finals betting preview
- Miami Heat NBA Finals betting preview
- NBA Finals odds
- NBA Finals MVP odds
- NBA picks
- NBA odds
Here are our best NBA betting sites:
- FanDuel: $2,500 No Sweat First Bet | Read our FanDuel Review
- Caesars: Earn Up to a $1,250 Bet Credit | Read our Caesars Review
- DraftKings: Bet $5, Get $200 in Bonus Bets | Read our DraftKings Review
- PointsBet: Earn Five Second-Chance Bets Up to $50 Each | Read our PointsBet Review
- BetMGM: Get a Bonus Bet of Up to $1,000 | Read our BetMGM Review
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