NBA Finals Preview: Nikola Jokic’s Nuggets Heavy Favourites To Beat The Heat

The Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat go head-to-head in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night
15:00, 01 Jun 2023

Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat square off in Game 1 of the NBA Finals at the Ball Arena on Thursday night (Friday morning in the UK). 

The West’s no.1 seeded Nuggets have had a week off heading into this one, having swept the Los Angeles Lakers 4-0 in the Western Conference finals, while Miami Heat had to grit it out against the Boston Celtics in the East. Despite going 3-0 up, they were taken all the way by The Green, who they eventually halted in Game 7. 

After an incredible regular season, the Nuggets, bidding for a first NBA title, have been far and away the best team in the playoffs and, in Nikola Jokic, they have arguably the best player in the game. Surely the title is only going one way? 

Not necessarily. The Heat have thrived in the position of underdog in the postseason and simply cannot be ruled out, no matter how good their opponents have been. They are only the second team seeded eighth to reach the finals in NBA history and, if Jimmy Butler continues to fire on all cylinders, will fancy their chances of a fourth championship. 

Here’s everything you need to know, including our best tip for the eventual winner. 


Game 1: Friday 2nd June, 1.30am (BST), Ball Arena (Denver, Colorado)

TV: Sky Sports

Game 2: Monday 5th June, 1.30am (BST), Ball Arena

TV: Sky Sports

Game 3: Thursday 8th June, 1.30am (BST), FTX Arena (Miami, Florida)

TV: Sky Sports

Game 4: Saturday 10th June, 1.30am (BST), FTX Arena

TV: Sky Sports

Game 5 (If necessary): Tuesday 13th June, 1.30am (BST), Ball Arena

TV: Sky Sports

Game 6 (If necessary): Friday 16th June, 1.30am (BST), FTX Arena

TV: Sky Sports

Game 7 (If necessary): Monday 19th June, 1.30am (BST), Ball Arena

TV: Sky Sports

Regular Season Results: 

Dec 30th: Nuggets 124, Heat 119 (@ Denver)

Feb 13th: Nuggets 112, Heat 108 (@ Miami)

Last Five NBA Final Results:

2022: Warriors beat Celtics in six (MVP: Stephen Curry)

2021: Bucks beat Suns in six (MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo)

2020: Lakers beat Heat in six (MVP: LeBron James)

2019: Raptors beat Warriors in six (MVP: Kawhi Leonard)

2018: Warriors beat Cavaliers in four games (MVP: Kevin Durant)

Betfred’s Championship Series Odds

Nuggets: 1/4

Miami Heat: 3/1 


Despite the destructive nature of Denver’s Western Conference win over the Lakers, we don’t think Miami Heat will be as easily disposed of. Miami were heavy underdogs against the East’s no.2 seed Boston but looked for a while like they might sweep them. Of course, the Celtics came back strong and might have become the first ever team to pull back a 3-0 series deficit in a conference final had they not imploded in Game 7 at the TD Garden. But there haven’t been many teams this season that have made Boston look so ordinary. 

The Nuggets are rightly the favourites, although it won’t be easy. Factor in the fact that the last four NBA finals have gone six games and we think Nuggets to win the series 4-2 at 4/1 with Betfred is generous.

Betfred's Nuggets vs Heat Series Odds*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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