Both the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets have the benefit of the full allotment of regulars participating in the seeding games and have clinched playoff spots. In terms of motivation, the Heat have a chance to move up to the No. 3 seed, which they are 2.5 games behind. They also have to protect their current No. 4 seeding from both the Pacers and 76ers (each two games behind).
The Nuggets are just 1.5 games behind the No. 2- seeded Clippers as the NBA restart kicks off. Denver also faces challenges for its current No. 3 seed from the Jazz (1.5 games behind), Thunder (2.5 games behind) and Rockets (2.5 games behind) in particular.
Each squad has deep benches to complement formidable starting units. However, the Nuggets have an experience edge over the Heat, whose first unit includes a starting backcourt of Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson. Denver’s Nikola Jokic, a key to its success, has also looked impressive in scrimmages.
The Heat are averaging 112.2 points per game, ranking them 15th in the NBA. That includes an average of 108.0 points per game outside their home floor of Miami Arena. Miami is surrendering 108.9 points per game — the 11th-fewest in the NBA – and have yielded 110.7 points per road game.
The Nuggets are averaging 110.4 points per game, ranking them 20th in the NBA. That includes an average of 109.5 points per game outside their home floor of Pepsi Center. Denver is surrendering 107.4 points per game – tying them with multiple teams for fifth fewest in the NBA – and have yielded 109.7 points per road game.
Miami is averaging 102.6 possessions per game (19th fastest), including 102.7 per road contest. Denver is 101.3 possessions per game (29th fastest), including 101.7 on the road.
Betting breakdown – Heat Nuggets odds
Miami Heat (41-24, 4th seed in Eastern Conference) at Denver Nuggets (43-22, 3rd seed in Western Conference)
Previous 2019-20 matchups: Denver 109, Miami 89 at Pepsi Center Nov. 5, 2019
Breakdown: The Heat are 33-30-2 (52.4 percent) against the spread this season, including 13-19-1 (40.6 percent) away from their home floor. Miami is also 13-13-1 versus the number in non-conference matchups.
The Nuggets are 29-32-4 (47.5 percent) against the spread this season, including 13-17-2 (43.3 percent) away from their home floor. Denver is also 11-12-3 (47.8 percent) versus the number in non-conference matchups.
Breakdown: The Over is 39-25-1 (Eastern Conference-high 60.9 percent) in the Heat’s games this season, including 17-15-1 (53.1 percent) in their road games. The Over is 15-12 (55.6 percent) in Miami’s non-conference games.
The Over is 30-34-1 (46.9 percent) in the Nuggets’ games this season, including 15-17 (46.9 percent) in their road games. The Over is 12-13-1 (48.0 percent) in Denver’s non-conference games.
Breakdown: The Heat are 41-24 (63.1 percent) straight up this season, including 14-19 (42.4 percent) in their road games. Miami is 13-14 (48.1 percent) in its non-conference games.
The Nuggets are 43-22 (66.1 percent) straight up this season, including 18-14 (56.2 percent) in their road games. Denver is 17-9 (65.4 percent) in its non-conference games.