Shane McNichol makes his NBA predictions for Game 5 of the Finals between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat.
The Denver Nuggets have a chance to close out the NBA Finals on their home floor in front of their fans. For some teams, that is an energizing effect. Others feel the pressure and buckle.
The Miami Heat are on the brink of elimination, hoping to extend the season.
My favorite bets for Game 5 look toward a Denver close-out.
Nikola Jokic to get a triple-double
If you like the Nuggets to close out the series tonight (which I do), it’s tough to find any value betting on them to win the game or cover a reasonable spread. Instead, let’s dip into the prop market for some items that certainly indicate a Denver win on the horizon, without being so direct.
A Jokic triple-double would both likely result in a Nuggets win and act as his coronation within the upper echelon of the NBA’s stars.
Jokic has 10 triple-doubles in the postseason in Denver’s 19 games, including five triple-doubles in ten home games. That makes these odds, slightly in the bettor’s favor, worthy of your wager.
Jamal Murray over 25.5 points
Similar to our first pick, this would be a critical indicator of a Denver victory. The Nuggets are 6-0 this postseason when Murray tops 34 points. When he sinks 40 per cent or more of his outside shots, Denver is 11-0 in the playoffs.
When Murray’s shot is hot, Denver’s offense clicks.
At home with the trophy in the building, I like his chances to get hot. He’s due for a big night. In Murray’s last five games, he’s averaging only two made triples on 35.7 per cent long range shooting.
With a shift in the right direction, Murray should clear this scoring prop.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope over 1.5 made 3-pointers
I love jumping on this prop at better-than-even odds. Caldwell-Pope has exceeded this many deep balls in more than half of Denver’s playoff games, sinking at least two threes in 10 of 19 postseason games.
He also comes in expecting some positive shooting regression, having made just four of his last 14 looks from deep, just 29 per cent.
KCP has only made multiple threes once so far in this series, after doing so in every game of the Western Conference Finals. I’d betting on him sinking at least two again tonight.
Largest lead of the game: Over 19.5 points
If we really want to get confident in a Denver statement win, why not a dice roll like this? It’s bold, but as we’ve seen time and time again in the NBA postseason, big leads balloon and shrink just as quickly.
Best of all, if the game veers fully away from our prediction, there’s a little safety here. Nothing in this prop says Denver needs to be the team that builds the lead. If Miami comes out firing with their backs against the wall, we’d happily cash this one if the Heat can develop a lead that hits 20 or more points.