Heat vs Nuggets Odds, Picks, and Predictions Tonight: Jimmy Buckets Goes Against Type

You don't earn a nickname like "Jimmy Buckets" by being a pass-first player, but our NBA betting picks believe Jimmy Butler will pick apart the Nuggets defense by getting his Heat teammates open looks vs. a tired Denver team tonight.

Feb 29, 2024 • 16:31 ET • 4 min read
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We get an NBA Finals rematch as Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat head to the Mile High City to take on Nikola Jokic and the reigning champion Denver Nuggets tonight.

Both teams enter this matchup playing well. The Heat are 7-1 straight up and 8-0 against the spread in their last eight games overall, while the Nuggets have notched four wins and covers in a row.

Despite playing their second game in as many nights, the NBA odds have the Nuggets laying five points at home in this intriguing matchup.

Will the extra rest help Miami exact some revenge, or will Denver show its championship mettle? I break it all down and bring you the best bet in my NBA picks and predictions for Heat vs. Nuggets on Thursday, February 29.

Heat vs Nuggets odds

Heat vs Nuggets predictions

While the Denver Nuggets take the conventional route of a regular season contender by just like, winning a bunch of games all season long, the Miami Heat are happy to do their thing, which appears to be just mailing it in until about February then ramping it up as the playoffs approach. The Heat are 9-2 SU and 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall and have climbed into fifth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

You can tell the Heat have started to care because of their increased effort at the defensive end of the floor, which we all knew they were capable of. Miami ranked a middling 13th in defensive rating before their current run. During this period, they rank fourth.

Another thing that has been noticeable over this run has been Jimmy Butler taking it upon himself to be more of a playmaker for this team. Everyone knows "Jimmy Buckets" is a killer in the playoffs but it’s clear he’s been making more of an effort to get his teammates involved in the offense.

Butler is averaging a meager 4.7 assists per game this season. But during this 11-game stretch (in which he has played seven games) those assist numbers bump up to 6.6. And I like him to keep that trend going in this matchup against the Nuggets.

Denver, as noted, is also playing well, but is also playing the second half of a back-to-back after taking out the Sacramento Kings last night. Now, the Nuggets are an underrated defensive team, but one way to break them down is by making the extra pass. 

The Nuggets rank 13th in opponent assists per game since the start of February and 13th in opponent assists per possession for the season overall.

Butler’s assist prop is set at 4.5 for this matchup and of course, it’s juiced to the Over. So, let’s look at his alternate assists instead. You can get 6+ assists at +135, and he’s hit that number in each of his last four games and five of his last seven overall. Butler also averaged 6.4 assists per game during the Finals last season.

Jimmy gives buckets tonight.

My best bet: Jimmy Butler 6+ assists (+135 at FanDuel)

Heat vs Nuggets same-game parlay

Jimmy Butler 6+ assists

Heat +6.5

Nikola Jokic Under 24.5 points

Now, if these teams played another series right now, I’d be backing the Nuggets. But in this spot, I think there’s some value on the Heat. They have proven recently that they are refocusing and ready to push for the playoffs, particularly when you consider their improved play at the defensive end of the floor. With the Nuggets playing the second half of a back-to-back, I’m willing to take the points with Miami here.

And speaking of that improved defense, this could be a lower-scoring matchup for Nikola Jokic. The two-time MVP has seen a bit of a dip in his scoring lately. He is averaging 23.4 points per game and has played below today’s number of 24.5 five times in his last eight games. Plus, Bam Adebayo will always be a tough matchup. Close this SGP out with Jokic Under 24.5 points.

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

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Heat vs Nuggets spread and Over/Under analysis

The Nuggets opened this Finals rematch as 4-point home favorites, but despite the fact they are playing their second game in as many nights, they have seen the majority of the early action with the line now sitting at Denver -6.5 as of Thursday afternoon.

As noted, both teams have been great bets recently, and with the Heat entering their, “remember we made it to the Finals last year?” stage of the season and the Nuggets playing a back-to-back, I would lean towards taking the points with the underdog here.

Meanwhile, the total hit the board at a low (by this season’s standards) 215. It dropped as far down as 213.5 before bouncing back to the current number of 214.

Miami’s improved defense has resulted in a nice Under run, going 2-10 O/U across their last 12 games. Denver’s underrated defense (ninth in D-rating) and slow pace of play has made them one of the better Under teams in basketball going 21-37-1 O/U this season.

Heat vs Nuggets betting trend to know

The Heat have hit the Game Total Under in 44 of their last 67 games for +18.7 units. Find more NBA betting trends for Heat vs. Nuggets.

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Heat vs Nuggets game info

Location: Ball Arena, Denver, CO
Date: Thursday, February 29, 2024
Tip-off: 10:00 p.m. ET
TV: TNT

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