Sports Journalist at FST, Gareth qualified as a journalist after graduating from university and spent over a decade as a freelance broadcast journalist, commentator and tipster before joining FST. Now living in Manchester, he is a long suffering Bolton Wanderers fan who also enjoys boxing, the NBA, tennis and rugby league.
The NBA Finals begin on Thursday as Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat battle it out for the coveted Larry O’Brien trophy.
Denver, led by two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, look the real deal after claiming top seed in the Western Conference and they have only lost three games in total during the Playoffs.
Miami have had a trickier run as they had to come through the play-in tournament, ultimately taking the eighth seed in the East. The Heat beat Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks fairly comfortably but had to survive a Boston Celtics fightback in the conference finals, eventually claiming a 4-3 victory after initially taking a 3-0 lead.
Ultimately, I’m expecting Denver to win the series and Jokic to claim the Finals MVP award but at odds of 4/17 and 1/3 respectively those selections don’t offer any real value, so instead I’ve looked at a few other markets where there are bigger prices available and have come up with three odds-against options alongside a shorter price tip for our NBA Finals Series 2023 main bet.
I’ve used bet365 for the odds for these NBA tips and new customers can get £30 in free bets by signing up and placing a £10 bet using the link below.
Butler will give his all to Heat cause
While Jokic is Denver’s main threat, Miami have their own superstar in the shape of forward Jimmy Butler.
Butler is a man who raises his levels in the Playoffs and at 7/4 offers real value to finish as the top points scorer in the series – regardless of whether or not Miami are able to pull off a shock.
The former Chicago star has been on the losing side in the Finals before, in 2020 as Miami fell short against the Lakers, and should be fully motivated for this series,
Butler is averaging 28.5 points-per-game in the Playoffs, just 1.4 fewer than market leader Jokic, and is likely to be the Heat’s main scoring threat.
Jokic deserves to be the favourite in terms of the top points scorer but Miami will have at least attempted to put together a plan to limit his scoring, and he also has the occasional game where he acts more as a creator and provides assists – as demonstrated by the fact he is averaging 10.3 assists-per-game in the Playoffs, so there is a real chance Butler will be the Finals Series leading scorer.
Heat can keep it competitive
My main bet for the Finals Series is over 5.5 games at 5/7 as when the season gets to this stage it is rare for a team to dominate from start to finish and there are usually a few twists and turns along the way. Each of the last four Finals Series have required six games and only three of the last 10 have been decided in five or less.
These teams met twice in the regular season and both games were close. Denver did win the regular season series 2-0, but they only outscored Miami by nine points in those two games and the Heat are clearly a team that up their levels during the postseason so I’m expecting these two talented outfits to line-up for a Game 6 on June 15.
A 4-2 series win for Denver looks a solid correct score option as they have shown a ruthless streak and will have home advantage, and they are unbeaten at their Ball Arena home during the postseason. Miami can claim two wins and as they have managed to build a bit of momentum after that sensational Game 7 win over Boston it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see them win the series opener away from home – but the fact Denver have played significantly fewer games over the last few weeks does put them at a disadvantage.
Vincent an outside contender to be threes leader
Jamal Murray is the justifiable favourite to lead the series in three-pointers made but at 10/1 Miami’s Gabe Vincent is an interesting option.
Vincent is shooting 39% from three-point range in the Playoffs and averages 2.4 threes-made per-game. The point guard has produced some memorable shooting performances during Miami’s run to the Finals as he hit four of his five three-point attempts in the opening game against the Bucks, scored six in Game 3 against the Celtics and also sank five in a game against the Knicks.
The way Denver defend often leads to opposing teams looking to shoot from beyond the arc, and Vincent will be one of the men Miami look for in those situations.
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