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Best bets today from around the NBA.
Best bets today from around the NBA.

A pivotal Game 2 in the NBA Finals awaits with the Denver Nuggets looking to race out to a 2-0 series lead, and the Miami Heat hoping to provide a stiffer challenge. Our top NBA player props and best bets for Sunday are based on the best NBA odds from our top sports betting apps.

The Denver Nuggets took Game 1 of the NBA Finals on their home court, dispatching the Miami Heat 104-93. The Heat shot terribly, and Jimmy Butler had an off night, yet Miami got within nine points a couple of times late in the game.

Nikola Jokic recorded his ninth triple-double of the postseason, and his 14 assists were the most by any player in his Finals debut. The Nuggets are prohibitive favorites to win Game 2 and to win the series, but as we’ve seen throughout the postseason, it’s tough to count Miami out.

Here are our top NBA player props and best bets for Sunday (odds via BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Sunday’s NBA schedule and odds

(odds via DraftKings)

  • Miami Heat (+8.5) vs. Denver Nuggets

Sunday’s NBA best bets

  • Jimmy Butler Over 6.5 assists vs. Nuggets (+106 via FanDuel)
  • Michael Porter Jr. double-double (+225 via DraftKings)
  • Heat ML vs. Nuggets (+300 via BetMGM)

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Sunday’s NBA player prop picks

Porter Jr. double-double (+225 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Michael Porter Jr. is having a solid postseason run and we’re betting he’ll keep it going in Game 2. Denver’s sharpshooting forward has had his ups and downs on offense, but he’s been solid as a rebounder, averaging 14.6 points and 8.3 boards in the 2023 playoffs.

MPJ has seven double-doubles in 16 games this postseason, including three straight and four of his last five. He’s scored in double figures in 14 of 16 games. Despite producing a double-double in nearly half of his playoff games, Porter Jr.’s double-double prop comes in with juicy, plus-money odds. 

The Heat aren’t a scary matchup for MPJ, as evidenced by his game-leading rebound total of 13 in Game 1. The Heat have been outrebounded 43.4 to 39.1 per game in the playoffs, while Denver has outrebounded opponents 41.1 to 39. We’re taking Porter Jr. to record a fourth straight double-double Sunday.

Butler Over 6.5 assists vs. Nuggets (+106 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

As mentioned above, Miami’s offense sputtered its way to just 93 points Thursday, shooting dreadfully and getting no quality production from its superstar and supporting cast. That will change Sunday.

Butler’s usage rate in Game 1 was his lowest of the postseason at just 18%. Bam Adebayo’s was 29.8%, Gabe Vincent’s was 18.2%, Max Strus came in at 21.8%, Kyle Lowry’s was 17.9%, and Haywood Highsmith was 23.2%. Butler being so passive and touching the ball so little is not a recipe for success, and that will surely change Sunday.

Butler averaged 30.2% usage in the playoffs prior to the Finals and we can expect him to be close to that in Game 2. With the ball in his hands more, we can expect Butler to get teammates involved. He finished with seven assists in Game 1, despite his teammates failing to hit shots. The Heat have had great success when Butler drives and dishes, and if he’s more aggressive and teammates are more efficient, the assists will pile up. 

Butler has averaged 6.1 assists in eight games since Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, handing out at least seven in three of them and at least six in six of them. Jimmy Buckets will do whatever it takes to get his team a needed win in Game 2, and that starts with being an elite facilitator. Take the Over on this assists prop at plus money. 

Check out our NBA Finals odds and NBA Finals MVP odds.

Sunday's NBA game picks

Heat ML vs. Nuggets (+300 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

We’re backing the Heat to cover the 8.5-point spread in Game 2, but that’s simply not good enough. We’re taking this thing a step further and betting on Miami to even up the series before heading home to South Beach. 

Nothing went right for the Heat’s offense in Game 1. Butler had his worst scoring performance of the postseason with 13 points on 14 shot attempts. Strus, Caleb Martin, and Duncan Robinson combined to score six points on 2-of-23 shooting, including an abysmal 2-of-16 from beyond the arc. Bam Adebayo led the way with 26 points, but he got no help from the supporting cast.

The Heat ended up hitting more triples than the Nuggets (13-of-39 compared to 8-of-27), won the turnover battle 8-10, won the offensive rebound battle 11-6, and compiled nine steals and blocks compared to eight for the Nuggets. Lack of aggression by the Heat and domination in the paint by the Nuggets won the day for the home team.

Denver hit 16-of-20 shots from the charity stripe, while Miami hit both of its free-throw attempts, setting a Finals record for fewest free throws. Denver had the clear edge in Game 1 due to rest advantage, the energy of the home crowd, and the excitement of playing in the first Finals game in franchise history. 

The Heat found a way to keep this one within shouting distance in the fourth quarter, despite horrendous shooting. There’s no way Erik Spoelstra doesn’t have his guys ready for a bounce-back performance in Game 2, and there’s no way role players - who have been tremendous thus far - shoot this poorly again. We won’t expect Jimmy Butler to be so passive either. This one is set up for a Miami victory, and we’re riding with the ML.

NBA best bets made 6/3/2023 at 11:05 a.m. ET.

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