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The Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat will look to get off to fast starts in the 2023 NBA Finals when they meet in Game 1 on Thursday in Denver. The Heat (44-38), who are coming off a 4-3 series win over the Boston Celtics, have won all three previous series openers this postseason. The Nuggets (53-29), fresh off a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers, have opened with wins in Game 1 of each of their playoff series as well. Denver has won nine of the past 10 meetings with Miami, going 4-1 at home during that stretch.

Game time from Ball Arena is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET. Denver is connecting on 49% of its field goals in the postseason, second-best in the league, while Miami hits on 47.2%, fifth-best. Denver is a 9-point favorite in the latest Heat vs. Nuggets odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over/under for total points scored is 218.5. Before making any Nuggets vs. Heat picks, make sure you check out what proven SportsLine NBA expert Larry Hartstein has to say.

A former lead writer for Covers and The Linemakers, Hartstein combines a vast network of Vegas sources with an analytical approach. He excels in the NBA, especially when picking Denver Nuggets games. Over the past 97 Denver matchups, he is 57-37-3 against the spread, returning $1,635 for $100 players. 

Now, Hartstein has set his sights on Heat vs. Nuggets and just locked in his picks and 2023 NBA Finals predictions. You can visit SportsLine now to see Hartstein's picks. Here are the NBA lines and trends for Nuggets vs. Heat:

  • Nuggets vs. Heat spread: Nuggets -9
  • Nuggets vs. Heat over/under: 218.5 points 
  • Nuggets vs. Heat money line: Heat +300, Nuggets -385
  • MIA: The Heat are 9-2 against the spread in their last 11 games following an ATS win 
  • DEN: The Nuggets are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games playing on three or more days rest 
  • Nuggets vs. Heat picks: See picks at SportsLine
Featured Game | Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat

Why the Nuggets can cover 

Denver's offense is getting production from a number of players besides two-time MVP Nikola Jokic. Power forward Aaron Gordon is coming off a 22-point, six-rebound and five-assist effort in Game 4 against the Lakers last week. Gordon reached double-digit scoring in three of the four games in the series. In 15 postseason games, Gordon is averaging 13 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists.

Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is also a big part of Denver's offense. He reached double-figure scoring in three of four games against the Lakers, including a 21-point performance in Game 1. He had 13 points and four rebounds in the May 22 close-out game vs. Los Angeles. In 15 playoff games, Caldwell-Pope averages 11.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 33.3 minutes of action. See which team to pick here.

Why the Heat can cover

Small forward Caleb Martin has registered back-to-back double-doubles and is a big reason why Miami was able to stave off the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. Martin poured in 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the decisive Game 7 win at Boston on Monday. He also had 21 points and 15 rebounds in Game 6. Martin is averaging nearly five points more than his regular-season average, and across 18 postseason games, he is averaging 14.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists.

Point guard Gabe Vincent has reached double-digit scoring in each of the past four games, including in Monday's win when he scored 10 points, while adding four rebounds. He had 29 points in a dominant 128-102 Game 3 win over the Celtics. In 17 postseason games, he is averaging 13.1 points, 3.9 assists and 1.7 rebounds. He had some success against Denver in the regular season, averaging nine points, three assists and 1.5 rebounds in 25 minutes of action. See which team to pick here.

How to make Heat vs. Nuggets picks

Hartstein is leaning Under on the point total, and he has identified a critical X-factor he says makes one side of the spread a must-back. You can find out what it is, and see which side of the Nuggets vs. Heat spread to back, at SportsLine.

Who wins Heat vs. Nuggets, and what critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Heat vs. Nuggets spread you need to jump on Thursday, all from the expert who has returned over $1,600 to $100 players over his last 97 Denver Nuggets picks, and find out.