The Denver Nuggets face the Miami Heat for the second and final time on Monday. Denver won the first contest between these teams, defeating Miami back on November 8, 113-96.
According to BetOnline Sportsbook, no line had been set for this contest at the time that this preview was written. Denver may be a bit short handed in this game, as they have four players who are out and two players that are listed as questionable. The big one of that group is Nikola Jokic (26.4 ppg, 13.6 rpg, 6.4 apg), who missed the previous contest with a right wrist injury. Michael Porter, Jr. has been out since November 22 and no timetable is set for his return. Tyler Herro, who is averaging 21.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, is listed as questionable for Miami. He sat out the last contest with general soreness.
Nuggets Lose Sixth Straight Game
The Denver Nuggets (9-10, 0-6 ATS in the last six games) dropped their sixth straight game when they fell to the Milwaukee Bucks, 120-109. Milwaukee took an 11-point lead in the first quarter, and then held on from there.
The Nuggets had a solid shooting night, hitting 43.5% of their shots, including 17-47 from three-point range. However, a hot shooting performance by Milwaukee that saw the team hit 63.0% of their shots was the key to the victory. Six different players scored in double digits for Denver, including Aaron Gordon who had 18 points and nine rebounds.
Denver has been a solid shooting team, 14th in field-goal percentage at 45.5%. However, with Jokic listed as questionable, one has to wonder how successful this team will be, as he is hitting 59.3% of his shots, including 41.0% from three-point range. That is a huge set of shoes to fill should he not be able to play.
Heat Rally to Down Bulls
the Miami Heat (13-7, 1-4 ATS in their last five games) trailed Chicago by two entering the fourth quarter, but went on a run to come away with a 107–104 victory. The Heat were outplayed in this contest statistically in every major category, except three-point attempts made, which proved to be the difference as the Heat hit 35.0% of their three-point attempts, hitting 14-40 while Chicago was 11-39.
Demar DeRozan had a huge evening, leading the team with 28 points and added seven rebounds. Alex Caruso came off the bench to score 22 and added six assists. Lonzo Ball had a double-double with 11 rebounds and 11 points.
Miami is second in the NBA in points allowed per contest at 102.5, and they are first in free throws per game at 17.9, hitting 81.2%, fourth overall. These are two statistics to watch, as the Heat have held opponents to 105 or fewer points in seven of the last eight games. That includes holding opponents under 100 in four of those contests.
- 0-6 ATS in their last six games.
- 0-7 ATS in their last seven games following a contest where they allowed 100 points or more.
- 6-0 ATS in their last six games at home against teams with a winning percentage of less than 40%.
- 7-1 ATS in their last eight games at home against teams with a losing record on the road.
Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat Pick
The potential loss of Jokic in this contest is a huge one. He is one of the top five players in the NBA, and is impossible to replace on the court. However, this is not the only injury for the Nuggets, as Porter and PJ Dozier are also out.
Miami plays exceptional defense as it is, and with the Nuggets offense depleted, this looks like a no-brainer. Miami easily wins this contest.
Pick: Take Miami Heat to win at -110
No line was set for this contest at the time that this preview was written, but you can expect a defensive battle. These teams rank in the top six in least points allowed per game, and Denver was already struggling to score as it was, 26th in the NBA at 102.8 points per game. With Jokic out, one should expect them to go under 100 in this contest. They have not scored 110 or more points in any of the last six games, all losses, while giving up 114 or more in four straight games.
Look for a low-scoring game somewhere around Miami winning 108-96. So, if the total gets set at anything above 208, you should definitely go under.