NBA Finals Picks: Betting Advice and Analysis for Game 3

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NBA Finals Picks: Betting Advice and Analysis for Game 3
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Congratulations to the Miami Heat. Once again, they’ve proved doubters like me wrong for another night. In the last game’s preview, I was ready to call the series over, and for three quarters of Game 2, it seemed like another comfortable Denver Nuggets NBA Finals win. 

Then the Heat caught fire. Miami made 11 of 16 shots in the fourth quarter, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range to secure a 111-108 victory to even the series at 1-1.

One positive from the outcome was the Game 2 bet I suggested hit, thanks in large part to Miami’s streaky shooting down the stretch. 

As the teams prepare for a pivotal Game 3 Wednesday in Miami, we’re reviewing the best NBA betting sites to find ideal odds for the series. 

Why You Should Bet on Denver in NBA Finals Game 3

Denver put itself in position to take a 2-0 series lead. The Nuggets led by as many as 15 points and eight going into the fourth quarter. Before Sunday, Dener was 11-0 this postseason when leading by double digits at any point in a contest, and 37-1 this season with at least an eight-point lead going into the fourth quarter. It was also the first loss at home since March 10 and the first home postseason loss. 

Nikola Jokic continued to be his dominant self, scoring 41 points on 16 of 28 shooting and adding 11 rebounds and four assists. It was the rest of the team’s shooting woes that held it back. 

Michael Porter Jr. was essentially a no-show; he missed six of eight shots and was just 1 of 6 from 3. Add in Jamal Murray’s (3-of-8) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s (1-of-3) inefficient shooting from beyond the arc, and Denver’s best shooters combined to go 5 for 14 from 3-point range. 

But what was more glaring was the missed defensive assignments from the Nuggets. Repeatedly, Denver got lost in switches that led to Miami's open 3s. You can forgive missing shots — that’s going to happen. However, blown coverage at this point of the year is inexcusable. 

Miami adjusted well after Game 1, now the onus will be on the Nuggets to make their own schematic changes to match the Heat. 

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Why You Should Bet on Miami in NBA Finals Game 3

The Heat found something against Denver’s defense. After shooting just 41% from the field and 33% from 3 (13-39) in Game 1, Miami made 49% from the field and 49% from 3-point range (17-35). Given the Heat’s run, it’s hard to even call that an anomaly. It was the sixth time this postseason the Heat have shot 48.5% or better from 3-point range in the playoffs. By comparison, they did it just three times in the regular season. 

Additionally, the Heat scored 36 points on just 19 possessions for a rate of 189.5 per 100 in the fourth quarter. That's the most efficient fourth quarter for any team in any game over the last two seasons. 

Miami also went with Kevin Love in the starting lineup and it managed to work out despite Love making just 2 of 9 from 3. The Heat were +18 with Love on the floor thanks to what he provided defensively. 

NBA Finals Game 3 Pick

Denver opened as a -1.5 point favorite, but that has now risen to -2.5 on FanDuel, while the Over-Under is at 215. 

If you’re into trends, the bet to make would be Miami +2.5. The Heat are 3-1 on the moneyline and 4-0 against the spread as a home underdog. 

When it comes to a side, I’d lean towards the Heat. Miami continues to shoot it at an elite rate and returning home where there’s more rim familiarity for the shooters should benefit the Heat’s offense. 

But as far as an official pick, I’m suggesting the Over of 215. Miami still can’t stop Jokic and I’d expect Denver’s shooting to improve while Miami continues to hit at a high clip. The over in Game 2 hit despite it being an even slower pace than the first game. If there’s any pace increase and the shooting stays this efficient, the teams should clear 215. 

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Bryce Derouin

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