The Miami Heat did what no other team has done this postseason and beat the Denver Nuggets at home in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night to even the series at one game apiece.
Now, Miami has a chance to flip the series in its favor at home, where it is 6-2 in the playoffs.
The Heat are underdogs in the series and in Game 3, but that’s been the case for this team all postseason. Yet, the Heat continue to prove time and time again that they can compete with anyone.
The spread for this game could end up moving in Miami’s favor if guard Tyler Herro (broken hand) is cleared to play in Game 3, but his role even if he does suit up is hard to predict.
Denver was unable to win Game 2 despite 41 points from Nikola Jokic, but the supporting cast around him struggled. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Michael Porter Jr. combined for just 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting from the field.
Miami hasn’t had a huge game from Jimmy Butler yet, but Bam Adebayo and Gabe Vincent have both averaged over 20 points per game through the first two matchups of this series.
Can the Heat keep that momentum going at home? Here are the latest odds and my best bet for Game 3 of the NBA Finals:
Nuggets vs. Heat odds, spread and total
Nuggets vs. Heat prediction and pick
The Heat aren’t expected to win this series, as the current series odds have Denver as a -275 favorite, a 73.3 percent implied probability that it will win.
Despite that, I love Miami to take Game 3.
The Heat have been elite in Game 3s in this postseason, taking down Milwaukee, New York and Boston in the first meeting in Miami in each series.
The team would certainly be bolstered by a potential Herro return, but Miami’s role players also have to be excited to be back at home. As a team this season, the Heat shoot 36.0 percent from 3 at home compared to 32.9 percent on the road.
Considering the team has put together some insane shooting performances already this postseason, any uptick in that department could spell trouble for Denver.
The other key here is Denver’s defense on the road.
The Nuggets were a bottom 10 team in the regular season in defensive rating away from Ball Arena, and the team fell asleep too many times on shooters like Strus in Game 2.
Miami’s move to put Kevin Love in the starting lineup certainly worked in Game 2, and I have a hard time believing that Denver will win the non-Nikola Jokic minutes again in Game 3.
If that is the case, the Nuggets’ starting lineup will have to thrive, and the team hasn’t seen a peak game from Jimmy Butler yet in this series.
At home, I think the Heat are undervalued in Game 3.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.