The Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat are both expected to be contenders in their respective conferences this year. But their seasons have got off to very different starts, as injuries have had vastly different impacts on the performances of these squads through the first month of the season. Here, the Heat will look to keep rolling as they return home from a road trip, while the Nuggets simply hope to have their most important player on the floor.
Matchups between the Nuggets and Heat are few and far between each season, as they play in opposite conferences. But these two squads have played twice early in the season, with a fight breaking out when Nikola Jokic and Markieff Morris traded dirty plays with one another. It will be interesting to see how that confrontation impacts this game, and what resentments have carried over into this game.
Denver Nuggets – Hoping For An MVP Return
The Denver Nuggets have lost six straight games, struggling to overcome the loss of their top player and the reigning league MVP in Nikola Jokic. Jokic is incredibly valuable to the Nuggets offensively, as he allows them to run their offense through the post, finding their shooters and making things easier for everyone else on the team. Without him, and without Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray, the Nuggets have been directionless on the offensive end.
Jokic is questionable to return from his wrist ailment for this game. If he is able to come back for this game, the Nuggets will be much more competitive in this game, though it remains to be seen how much he will play right away upon his return. Jokic may be limited early in his return, but all of that is hypothetical, as is whether or not the most valuable player in the league will even be on the floor for the Nuggets here.
Expected Line-Up: Monte Morris, Will Barton, Aaron Gordon, Jeff Green, JaMychal Green
with best odds
Miami Heat – Banged Up As Well
Coming into this game, the Miami Heat have alternated wins and losses over each of their last five games. Their last game was a win in Chicago against the Bulls, as Miami returns home for this contest after a four-game road trip where they went 2-2. But the Heat have some injury concerns that they need to worry about as well, as several of the key members of their rotation are uncertain to take the floor here.
Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler are both questionable to play in this game for the Heat, as Herro is dealing with an illness and Butler is dealing with a tailbone injury. Butler is definitely the more important injury to deal with from Miami’s point of view, but losing either player would represent a significant dropoff in production. Whether one or either player is out will determine whether the Heat suffer from more significant injury issues than Nuggets, though the Heat’s 6-1 home record could make up for that.
Expected Line-Up: Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, PJ Tucker, Bam Adebayo
Expert Pick #1 – Nuggets +7.5 @ -110
The first bet to make in this game is the Nuggets +7.5 at -110 odds. While both teams have a lot of injury problems to deal with here, the Nuggets should still be able to compete, especially if Butler and Herro are out of action for Miami. If Jokic comes back, this number is a steal at 7.5 points, and the line should stay somewhere in this range even if he misses out.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 207.5 @ -110
The next bet to make in this matchup is the over 207.5 at -110 odds. While it isn’t a guarantee that either team will be at full strength offensively here, this total is a bit of an overcorrection. Denver’s defense hasn’t been great with or without Jokic this season, which should kickstart things toward the over regardless of which team wins.
Expert Pick #3 – Nuggets +4.5 First Half @ -110
The final bet for this game is the Nuggets first half point spread at +4.5 and -110 odds. With the Heat suffering from several injury problems heading into this game, a slow start should be expected from a Heat team that just spent an extended period of time away from home anyway.
This is a game that the Miami Heat should win to move to 7-1 at home on the season. But the Denver Nuggets are a very competitive team, and they should be able to make the Miami Heat earn this game by keeping it competitive throughout. Take the points with the Nuggets here, as they are getting a more favorable number than usual due to their recent losing streak.