Nuggets are surprisingly big favorites to win the NBA Finals against Heat

The Denver Nuggets have never won an NBA championship. They didn’t win any in the ABA era either.

Betting odds say they have about an 80% chance of changing that over the next few weeks.

Now that the Nuggets know they will face the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, we have odds on BetMGM for the series. And the Nuggets are a heavy -400 favorite to win the title (80% implied odds). They are also favorites with 8.5 points for Game 1, which is a bit surprising.

Maybe it’s just disrespect for the Heat, who keep proving everyone wrong. But more likely, it gives the Nuggets their due.

Denver was a worthy No. 1 seed in the West, not even being pushed to a Game 7 as they labored through the playoffs. They swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. The Nuggets have a big home field advantage. It could look big in the first two games as the Heat, who are coming off a grueling seven-game streak against the Boston Celtics. The Nuggets also have Nikola Jokic playing at a historic level. There’s a reason Jokic has -300 to win the NBA Finals MVP. The Nuggets’ strong odds of winning it all have a lot to do with Denver’s quality all season.

The odds still look a bit high for the Heat, who are at +300. The Heat are one of the few No. 8 seeds to advance to the NBA Finals, but they’ve knocked out some good teams along the way. Maybe the Nuggets will be a little rusty from a long layoff since sweeping the Lakers. No one seemed to think Miami would beat the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round or the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the Heat keep winning.

Even though the series odds seem a little inflated, the Nuggets are the legitimate favorites. It’s their best chance in nearly 50 years to lift the trophy.

Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets will face Bam Adebayo and the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.  (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)
Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets will face Bam Adebayo and the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)

Here’s the first look at the sports betting slate for Tuesday:

MLB takes center stage

We have at most seven NBA games and seven NHL games left by the fall. Football doesn’t start until August. Bettors have to get used to baseball being their main option every day.

There are all 15 full games on the MLB slate for Tuesday. Perhaps the most intriguing game is the Philadelphia Phillies versus the New York Mets. Both teams have been disappointing this season, but they have plenty of time to get back into the NL East race. The Mets are -135 favorites for Tuesday’s game.

Another game to watch is the New York Yankees, with their three-game winning streak, against the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners, who were also hot until their Monday night loss, are -140 favorites.

What is the best bet?

Sandy Alcantara of the Miami Marlins hasn’t looked like himself all season, but he still gets a lot of respect from bettors. The Marlins are a -140 favorite with Alcantara on Tuesday, but I’ll take the other side and go with the San Diego Padres at +115 odds. The Padres are off to a rocky start to the season, but their offense has shown signs of life lately.

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