Predictions, Lines, and Odds for Game 2 of the Heat and Nuggets Series: Bam Gets Baskets

Predictions, Lines, and Odds for Game 2 of the Heat vs Nuggets Series

With a convincing Game 1 victory over the upstart Miami Heat, the Denver Nuggets preserved their undefeated home playoff record.

The Heat will look for improved ways to defend Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, and they’ll also be hoping for a better showing from Jimmy Butler. The Heat are underdogs in NBA odds on Sunday, June 4, and they will play hard to avoid falling into a 0-2 series hole.

Bam Adebayo should keep scoring well against Denver’s drop defense, according to our NBA selections and predictions for Game 2 of the Heat vs. Nuggets in the NBA Finals.

Game 2 picks: Heat vs Nuggets

The fact that Bam Adebayo attempted a career-high number of field goals in Game 1 was unexpected but not as shocking as the Miami Heat setting a postseason record for the fewest free throws attempted in a single game with only two. However, given the Nuggets’ strategy in his defense, it shouldn’t have been as much of a surprise. 

The Celtics’ success in switching led me to believe that the Nuggets, despite their size advantage, might switch on Bam in Game 1. However, Denver’s regular drop defense seemed more likely. In reality, Nikola Jokic countered the Miami Heat’s pick-and-roll plays by sitting deep on Bam.

The plan succeeded despite Bam’s 26 points on 52 percent shooting from the field. Bam finished with 26 points on 25 shots, but he was limited to just five assists and no 3-pointers. Not terrible, but not enough to beat the high-powered Nuggets, either: 26 points on 25 shots or 1.04 points per shot attempt. As a result, Denver was able to keep Jokic out of foul trouble and prevent Miami Heat from scoring in the paint.

However, Bam is obligated to take those attempts, and he will have another opportunity in Game 2. Bam should if he is to make any changes for Game 2, attempt to drive, challenge Jokic, and increase his free throw attempts. That would increase his effectiveness, but it could be too costly for the Nuggets in the long run if Jokic starts picking up a lot of fouls. It doesn’t matter what happens in Game 2; Bam’s points prop is my best bet because he’ll be in a scoring position in any case.

Once it became evident that the Celtics would constantly be rotating ball screens involving him and any other ballhandler and daring him to create a one-on-one, I was on the Under for Bam for the duration of the series. Although Bam bombed that test badly against Boston, he has shown he can handle the pressure of shooting from beyond the arc against Jokic. 

Going back to the 2020 season, in seven of their past nine meetings, Bam has scored 19 or more points versus Jokic. On Sunday, I anticipate the same weather conditions.

Same-game parlay for Game 2 of Heat vs Nuggets

My greatest wager on Adebayo’s scoring is part of a same-game parlay with the other two wagers I was considering putting my best wager. 

Michael Porter Jr. had a fantastic first game, with the exception of doing what he does best—scoring baskets. MPJ led the Nuggets in +/-, grabbed a ton of boards, and came up with key defensive stops whenever Miami Heat got close. I wasn’t only surprised by his 18.2% shooting percentage from deep; his MVP teammate also expressed astonishment after viewing the box score, saying, “I thought he hit like five threes” in the postgame press conference. 

That’s because MPJ was getting shots of the kind that come naturally to him. Every prediction that the Nuggets’ size (and MPJ’s in particular) would provide them easy shoots came true, and the fact that MPJ missed a few wide-open shots is no indication that he will continue to do so in the future. What should make this a strong value bet and have Miami Heat supporters worried is the volume: 11 threes is the most he’s taken in the playoffs.

The Over at 215.5 is the third leg of the parlay. I wish I could get this for 214, as I see in other books, but it’s still a good deal, even at this price. Both the Heat and the Nuggets should feel like they can score more than they did in Game 1, but it’s an overreaction for the Total to decrease from 219.5 in Game 2. Like I thought MPJ would hit more of his open shots on Thursday, Max Strus and Caleb Martin should respond by scoring more points than they did in that game.

Game 2 Over/Under and point spread analysis: Heat vs Nuggets

Denver Nuggets opened as huge -11.5-point favorites after a dominating win in Game 1, but action on the underdog Heat has lowered the line to between -9 and -8.5. Butler, one of the Heat’s more agile players, was dwarfed by Denver’s big men and scored a miserable 13 points on just 14 attempts. Butler needs to step up his offensive and attack the Nuggets at the rim if the Miami Heat is to have any hope of covering the spread, let alone winning.

The Nuggets have been undefeated at home in the playoffs, and they have been especially strong against the spread in their arena. They’ve covered the spread in eight of their previous nine home games, a streak that dates back to the regular season. Conversely, the Miami Heat have lost all four games in Denver against the spread. The Heat’s chances of keeping this one close hinge on two factors: shooting regression and the team’s propensity to bounce back after a setback. Following an ATS loss, Miami Heat has won six of their previous eight games.

The opening range for Game 2’s Total was four to five points lower than in Game 1’s, at 214.5 to 215.5. The first game went far under the low total set, but the oddsmakers are overreacting. While the Nuggets had a good defensive game plan and held the Heat to 93 points in Game 1, they also missed an unsustainable number of open 3-pointers. The altitude and the huge rest advantage they had to work with impacted their performance, but both should be diminished for Game 2. On the flip side, the Nuggets can vastly improve their performance in Game 1. 

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