By David Delano Marotta
With only two teams left playing in the NBA season, there are limited options if you are only betting on the point spread or game totals, but there are a lot more opportunities with series props. Here are my favorite props for the 2023 NBA Finals with the odds according to DraftKings.
Jamal Murray to win MVP (+1400)
The race for the NBA Finals MVP revolves around the star players on the winning team. While Nikola Jokic is the favorite to win the award, with -360 odds, Jamal Murray presents a much more enticing option with +1400 odds. Murray has been sensational in the playoffs, averaging 27.7 points per game and demonstrating his ability to perform under pressure. Notably, he showcased his abilities as an elite scorer with an impressive 32.5 points per game in the four-game sweep over the Lakers. Although Jokic remains the frontrunner, there is little value in taking him because the value is not much better than just taking the Nuggets to win the series outright, which will force you to risk a lot and only win a marginal return. Murray’s odds provide a more significant potential payout, even if you only risk a small wager.
Nuggets to win the series 4-2 (+400)
History often repeats itself, and when it comes to the length of the NBA Finals series, a six-game outcome has been the most common over the past several years, as the previous four NBA Finals have ended in six games. With the Nuggets being the favored team, as indicated by the -425 odds, a 4-2 series victory becomes a much more appealing option at +400 odds. I expect the Nuggets to win this series, but given the Heat’s strong team culture, momentum, and Erik Spoelstra possibly being the best coach in the NBA, I don’t see Miami laying down and getting swept. Although the Nuggets should win this series, this prop offers a much better balanced risk-reward ratio, aligning with the historical trends of recent NBA Finals.
Player to Make a Field Goal at the End of any Quarter as Time Expires with no chance for the opponent to inbound the ball.
Nikola Jokic, with +500 odds for a two-point shot, and Jamal Murray, with +650 odds for a three-pointer, present intriguing options for this prop. Both players have exhibited their ability to hit difficult shots throughout the postseason, making them prime candidates to deliver last-second heroics in any quarter. With the series guaranteed to have a minimum of 16 quarters, the odds favor witnessing at least a couple of chances for Jokic and Murray to deliver on this prop.
Nikola Jokic to average over 10.2 assists per game (-115)
Nikola Jokic’s passing ability has become legendary, and in the 2023 NBA Finals, he will continue his historic playmaking. With Jokic averaging 10.3 assists per game in the second round against the Suns and 11.8 assists per game against the Lakers, there is a strong chance he will surpass the 10.2 assists per game mark. Jokic has also dished out at least 11 assists in seven of his last eight games.
Miami’s defensive strategy may involve implementing some defensive zone sets and double teams to limit Jokic’s scoring opportunities, but that will not be enough to restrict the passing lanes for his teammates. With sharpshooters like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Porter Jr, and Jamal Murray ready to capitalize off of Jokic’s precise feeds, and Aaron Gordon moving well without the ball and getting in position for dunks, the two-time MVP will continue to rack up assists throughout the series.
David is a sports writer and handicapper.
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