Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals went about as expected. The Denver Nuggets, heavily favored and playing at home with a significant rest advantage, dispatched the Miami Heat 104-93 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Just about everyone contributed to the victory, but unsurprisingly, Nikola Jokic led the way with a bit of history.
Jokic became just the second player in NBA history to post a triple-double in his NBA Finals debut after putting up an impressive 27 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds in the victory. Those 14 assists were the most by a center in Finals history as well, and it set quite a tone in the MVP race. Jokic entered the Finals as the heavy favorite, and his oddssince Denver's Game 1 win. Here's where we stand now, with Game 2 two days away, with odds from Caesars Sportsbook.
To put that Jokic number into perspective, odds of minus-500 represent an implied probability of 83.3%. Not only has Vegas essentially wrapped this series up for the Nuggets after a single game, but it is already starting to dismiss the possibility that one of his teammates wrestles away the trophy.
We have a change in the No. 2 slot. Jimmy Butler, Miami's obvious candidate, started the Finals in second place, but he has since been passed by Jamal Murray. It makes sense in the context of the overall series odds. The books expect Denver to win, so the second-best Nugget probably has a better chance to win than Miami's leader. Murray has a strong Game 1 with 26 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. Butler struggled to just 13 points on 6-of-14 shooting.
CBS Sports HQ Newsletter
Your Ultimate Guide to Every Day in Sports
We bring sports news that matters to your inbox, to help you stay informed and get a winning edge.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Notably, odds for Herro have officially posted for the first time. He was unlisted entering the series, but with the news that he could return for Game 2, Vegas has given him plus-15000 odds. If Miami comes back and completes the upset, Herro's return will likely be a big reason why. Still, for a narrative to form around him, he'd likely be better served waiting until Game 3 in Miami, when the Heat could trail 2-0.
Regardless, this is Jokic's award to lose. He's three games away from what increasingly feels like his inevitable entrance into one of basketball's most exclusive clubs.