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NBA Finals 2023 Game 3 Nikola Jokic Player Props: Joker Teams Up

Nikola Jokic dropped 41 on Sunday, but it wasn't necessarily a good thing for the Nuggets. Our NBA Finals player prop picks are backing him to adjust accordingly for Game 3.

Last Updated: Jun 7, 2023 6:37 PM ET Read Time: 4 min

Nikola Jokic’s 41-point performance in Game 2 of the NBA Finals was impressive but – funny enough – not what the Denver Nuggets needed from their All-World big man.

The Miami Heat seemingly conceded one-on-one matchups to Jokic and focused on taking away the Nuggets’ other options, pulling the plug on Jokic’s playmaking and ability to energize his teammates offensively.

It worked. Jokic recorded only four assists after averaging more than 10 throughout the playoffs, and the other four starters shot a collective 15 for 34 from the floor (44%).

The Heat countered Denver’s size by going to a bigger lineup and plugging up the paint in a 111-108 victory, swinging the series to South Beach tied at 1-1 for Wednesday’s Game 3.

Basketball brains are straining to conceive just how Jokic and Denver head coach Michael Malone will counter Miami’s mastermind Erik Spoelstra, and what that means to the Joker’s NBA prop markets.

I jump into the individual odds and give my best NBA picks and props predictions for Nikola Jokic in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on June 7.

You can also check out my Game 3 picks and predictions for complete Nuggets vs. Heat analysis, and our Game 3 player prop picks for more great bets.

Nikola Jokic Game 3 player prop pick

In a strange twist, Denver may not want Nikola Jokic pouring in the points like he was in Game 2. After he dished out only four dimes along with his 41 points, the Nuggets dropped to 0-3 when the two-time MVP goes for 40-plus points this postseason.

This isn’t so much about scoring as it is his dip in facilitating when defenses roll out the red carpet to the rim. The Nuggets feed on Jokic’s playmaking, which is evident if you look at the team’s results in games in which he failed to crack double-digits in assists.

So far in the postseason, Denver is a steady 5-2 SU when Joker hands out nine or fewer helpers. But look at the bigger sample of the regular season and the Nuggets are just 14-16 when Jokic fails to stack up 10 or more dimes. That means that the Nuggets were 39-13 SU when he hit 10-plus helpers in the box score.

It’s tough to say Jokic would look off open shots in Game 3 but Malone must do a better job creating opportunities for other players, especially if the Heat continue to take and make 3-pointers at this rate. Jokic could come out the gate with passing purpose, running set plays to get those other guys clean looks and jump-start the offense in the first quarter.

Player models for Jokic are calling for a quieter night from the 6-foot-11 Serbian sensation, with most staying below 27 points (his output in Game 1) and some sinking as low as 24.6. My number sits at 26.5 points, which when measured against his scoring prop for Game 3, is an auto Under with as much as three points of headroom.

If you shop around, you can find FanDuel hanging a 29.5-point total for Jokic’s scoring forecast with the vig on the Under moving from -118 to -125 as of Tuesday afternoon.

The Game 3 total opened at 216 points and has shrunk to as low as 214.5 with early play on the Under — making it the shortest total the Nuggets have drawn this entire postseason. In fact, it's the shortest O/U they've seen all year.

The pace of Game 2 also slowed down considerably thanks to Miami’s offensive efficiency forcing Denver to start many possessions off the inbounds, which slowed the Nuggets’ transition attack. Having Kevin Love in the lineup gave Miami options to switch on Jokic if Bam Adebayo was out of position when Denver did get a chance to push the ball.

Taking the Under on a guy like Jokic is always uncomfortable, but with the player models calling for less output and the game odds projecting a low-scoring script, we’ll grab the tallest total and go Under on Joker’s point prop in Game 3.

My best bet: Nikola Jokic Under 29.5 points (-125) 

Nuggets vs Heat Game 3 same-game parlay

Nikola Jokic Under 29.5 Points (-122)

Bam Adebayo Record 4+ Assists (-165)

Max Strus Over 9.5 Points (-118)

Player projections all call for less than Jokic’s sky-high Game 3 point prop total and with the Game 3 Over/Under set as the lowest total for Denver this season, game script follows a low-scoring path.

Adebayo was used more as a passer out of the high post in Game 2, throwing backdoor dishes and handoffs to 3-point shooters. He’s posted assist totals of four and five in the first two games and will have at least four dimes in Game 3.

Strus loves playing in South Beach, with his offensive production jumping two points and his shooting stroke improving in front of the Miami faithful. He finished with 14 points in Game 2 and models are calling for as many as 12 points Wednesday.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Nuggets vs Heat Game 3 game info

Location: Kaseya Center, Miami, FL
Date: Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Tip-off: 8:30 p.m. ET

NBA Finals Contest

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