NBA Finals Game 4 Betting Guide: What to Do With a Curiously Small Spread
Betting on the NBA can get a little overwhelming throughout the season because there are games every day, and there's just a lot to track throughout the season and entering every night -- spreads, over/unders, injuries, and so on.
But you can rely on numberFire to help. We have a detailed betting algorithm that projects out games to see how often specific betting lines hit. You can also track spread bet percentages at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Where can we identify value in tonight's NBA odds?
(All offensive, defensive, and net rating splits come from PBPStats.com and account for medium-, high-, and very high-leverage situations unless otherwise noted. Unless otherwise noted, all injury news and notes come from the official NBA injury report.)
Denver Nuggets at Miami Heat
Denver Nuggets -3.5 (-108) - Lean
It appears that Game 3 was a lens into what happened if everything in this matchup goes right for the Nuggets and everything goes wrong for the Miami Heat.
After all of the hoopla about the Heat's shooting, they went ice cold on Wednesday. Their 42.9 eFG% was the second-worst mark of the playoffs so far, and that's not an effort that will beat most teams that make the NBA playoffs -- much less a top-overall seed in the NBA Finals.
Denver also had a mammoth 41.5% offensive rebounding rate, so despite a clean game from Miami with just four turnovers, they got absolutely waxed. That's thrown Basketball Reference's Four Factors into a state that would otherwise lead you to believe the Nuggets are up 3-0:
However, after that showing, Denver is just a 3.5-point favorite in a pivotal Game 4. It's kind of spooky. That's the reason for this lean toward the Nuggets, but I won't personally be betting on it.
The reality of this series is that Denver has more talent, and they've been the better team all year. The requisite defensive effort needed wasn't there in Game 2, and Miami won. The Heat will shoot better than they did Wednesday moving forward, but in a vacuum, only having to lay 3.5 points given the chasm of talent between these two teams will always feel like a gift.
Under 210.5 (-108)
I've been on the under all three games thus far, and only the Heat's historic fourth quarter in Game 2 cost that one from cashing by a mere four points. We're getting closer to where these totals should be.
Though still not a high mark, all of the aforementioned Miami misses actually led to an elevated 92.5 pace in Game 3. Denver was fifth in the NBA in fast break points per game this year (16.2), so when things are humming for them, they will push that pace. Christian Braun certainly added that element, too.
At the general pace in this series (89.4), you'd still project these teams for 206.3 total points at their current efficiency levels. The Heat have been a team of constant adjustments, so I don't think it's set in stone that Denver will stick at a 56.4 eFG%. In fact, it was just 54.0% in the explosive Game 3 effort.
Of course, we're expecting better from the Heat than Wednesday's output, but their current eFG% (49.4%) in the series isn't as far behind their regular season mark (53.0%) as you might think. With ratcheted playoff intensity, it's possible this is what they look like against an average playoff defense as the clock begins to strike midnight.
I'm still on the under at this number, but another consecutive one could trend us toward an over in Game 5.