Clippers vs. Nuggets Odds, Pick, Prediction: Denver Has the Superior Offense (March 22)
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets.
- The Nuggets host the Clippers as home favorites on Tuesday night.
- Both teams are battling for Western Conference seeding before they may or may not get key players healthy down the stretch.
- Jacob McKenna breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Clippers vs. Nuggets Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Los Angeles Clippers will play their first game since Friday night when they travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets in a Western Conference battle.
The Clippers have been without their franchise cornerstones, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, for a majority of the season and have felt the effects of their absences as of late. LA has now lost three straight games and currently sits in eighth in the West.
Similarly, the Nuggets have not played their best basketball lately, coming into this one having lost two straight games to Cleveland and Boston.
Both teams are sitting right on the edge of the play-in tournament, and every game at this point of the season comes with high stakes. Will the Clippers take the win on the road, or will we see Denver step up and attempt to climb higher in the West?
Clippers Need to Find Offensive Consistency
Kawhi Leonard has yet to suit up for this Clippers team this season due to an ACL injury, and Paul George has been sidelined with an elbow injury since late December.
In that time, LA has basically been treading water and doing everything to stay afloat, but lately they’ve been starting to sink.
Even without their stars on the floor, the Clippers have played stellar defense for a majority of the year. Their 109.1 Defensive Rating currently ranks eighth in the NBA, but that number has since risen to 114.7 in their most recent 10 games and helps explain their recent struggles.
The three-game losing streak, which has come at the hands of Cleveland, Toronto, and Utah, has further highlighted some of those issues. In that span, the Clippers’ Defensive Rating has risen even more to 119.4, and their opponents are shooting nearly 40% from behind the arc and 48% overall.
The lack of a defensive presence has been followed up by scoring just 106.5 points per game in their last 10 games, the third-fewest in the NBA in that span. Although those struggles are uncharacteristic, they are still somewhat alarming to see from a team that is fighting for a spot in the postseason.
Nuggets Fighting to Stay Out of the Play-In Tournament
Denver enters this matchup with an overall record of 42-30, which, believe it or not, is just half a game ahead of Minnesota in the standings for the sixth seed in the Western Conference.
The margin for error is very slim at this point for the Nuggets, and even though there have been some inconsistencies as of late, there are still some encouraging signs.
In their 10 most recent games, Denver has managed to post the ninth-best Offensive Rating in the NBA at 117.4 and is shooting nearly 50% from the floor, both of which are above their season averages and are moving in the right direction.
Even while losing four of their last six games, Denver is scoring an average of 113 points per game and still managing to shoot 48% from the floor and 35% from three, all while their Offensive Rating is just outside of the top 10 at 115.3. They’ve remained competitive on that end of the floor, and that should go a long way in this one.
It’s clear that the Nuggets offense is still flowing nicely, but that means their struggles have come at the defensive end of the floor.
In their last six games, the Nuggets have posted the fifth-worst Defensive Rating at 119.2, but five of those games have come against playoff teams in the Warriors, Raptors, 76ers, Cavaliers, and Celtics.
Los Angeles does not currently provide the same level of fire power on offense as those squads do, and I think this will be a nice bounce back opportunity for the Nuggets. I expect them to take advantage of LA’s struggling defense, and I like their spread up to -7.5.
Pick: Denver Nuggets -6.5 (-110)