Doug KizirianESPN Sports Betting Insider3 minutes to read
Denver also opened as an 8-point home favorite in Game 1 on Thursday, with an over/under 219.
The Heat is the second 8-man team to win a conference championship, and only the third team to win their first three series as an underdog. Miami achieved a 13-5 postseason record against the spread, winning a record-tying straight nine games as an underdog.
“Miami’s playoff run only reinforced the fact that they are a team built for the postseason,” David Lieberman, the NBA’s leading odds maker for Caesars Sportsbook, told ESPN. “We’ve seen that a few times over the past three seasons, but over the course of the regular season everyone seemed to forget about it. [Jimmy] butler f [coach Erik] Spoelstra are able to find new equipment come game time.”
The Heat were long shots in the championship 200-1 before defeating the Chicago Bulls in a playoff game. Going into the opening game, the Heat had odds of 150-1.
Miami will likely see the return of 2022 Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Hero, who fractured his hand in the team’s opener on April 16 and hasn’t played since. Hero said at the time that the injury would require four to six weeks of recovery, and that he hoped to be back in time for the NBA Finals should the Heat progress.
“I’m not sure advertising with Herro is going to change much,” Johnny Avello, director of Draughtskings sportswriters, told ESPN. “We have to set the group price now and just go with the existing rosters. We’ll adjust after every win.”
Sportsbooks offer several suggestion bets for each game and the entire series. Nuggets star and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic is the -125 favorite to average a triple-double in the Finals.
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