Can the Nuggets win their first NBA title?

The Denver Nuggets are on the brink of history.

It took nearly 50 years for the Nuggets to finally reach the NBA Finals, and they don’t want that opportunity wasted. The Nuggets hold a 3-1 lead over the Miami Heat in Game 5 on Monday night in Denver.

The Nuggets took control of the series by winning Games 3 and 4 on the road in Miami after the Heat pulled off an upset in Denver in Game 2. The Nuggets now have a shot at winning their first NBA title at home .

And after seeing the way they played in double-digit Miami win streaks, it’s hard to imagine the Nuggets wouldn’t wrap up Monday night.

The Nuggets have been favored in all four games of this series. For Game 5, they are favored by 8.5 points at BetMGM.

Besides the 111-108 loss in Game 2, Denver’s average winning margin in the Finals was 13 points. The Nuggets have covered the spread in each of their series wins. Plus, every one of those wins in Denver has gone under. The total for Game 5 is currently 209.5 – the lowest in the series.

Two-time league MVP Nikola Jokic led the way, but his supporting cast intensified significantly in Game 4. Jokic posted 23 points and 12 rebounds, but the Nuggets were trailed by Aaron Gordon .

Gordon went for 27 points, the most he has scored in a game since early February. In addition to Gordon’s burst of goals, Bruce Brown added 21 from the bench. Big nights from Gordon and Brown made up for off-shooting nights from Jokic and Jamal Murray, who went 13 of 36 overall from the field.

The Nuggets were also able to limit Miami’s outside shots. The Heat went just 8 of 25 from deep with Gabe Vincent and Max Strus — regular double-digit scorers for Miami — to combine for just two of 1 of 10 from the field and 0 of 7 from deep.

To close the series and avoid returning to Miami, Denver cannot afford to let go.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) aims for a three-point shot as Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) defends during the second half of Game 4 of the NBA Basketball Finals on Friday June 9, 2023, in Miami.  (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) aims for a three-point shot as Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) defends during the second half of Game 4 of the NBA Basketball Finals on Friday June 9, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

8 games on the MLB schedule

There’s a lighter Monday night baseball schedule with eight games to go.

Among the teams in action are the surprising Miami Marlins, who have won eight of their last nine with third baseman Luis Arraez leading the way. Before going 1-for-5 in Sunday’s win over the Chicago White Sox, Arraez was hitting .402 this season. He is now at .397, an average that leads the majors by 59 percentage points. Very good.

Either way, the Marlins begin a three-game road series with the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners are just 2-9 in their last 11 outings but are -120 favorites on Monday night at BetMGM. Marlins are +100.

Elsewhere, the Cincinnati Reds are suddenly gaining momentum with an array of exciting rookies getting significant game time. The main name to know in this group is Elly De La Cruz, the 6-foot-5 infielder with tremendous power and blistering speed. The Reds are 4-2 with De La Cruz in the lineup with series wins over the Dodgers and Cardinals. On Monday, the Reds begin a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals. The Royals are -120 home favourites, the Reds are +100.

Another suddenly hot team is the Oakland Athletics. The A’s still have the worst record in the major leagues at 17-50, but are riding a five-game winning streak at home as they begin a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays, the team with the best balance sheet in the championship (48-20). Predictably, the Rays are the big favorites at -275. The A’s are +220.

Stanley Cup Odds Update

The Vegas Golden Knights can go from brand new franchise to Stanley Cup champions in just five seasons with just one more win.

The Knights hold a 3-1 advantage over the Florida Panthers with the series returning to Las Vegas for Game 5 on Tuesday night. The Knights won a Game 4 thriller in Florida on Thursday, fending off a last-second barrage to win 3-2 and take command of the series.

Heading into Game 5, Vegas is -1100 to win the series at BetMGM and -175 for Game 5 specifically. The Panthers have been underdogs throughout the playoffs and are in that position yet again. For the series as a whole, the Panthers are +700 to win the next three to hoist the Cup. For Game 5, the Panthers have +145 odds on BetMGM.

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