Nuggets-Warriors Betting Preview: Will Denver Turn Things Around in Oracle?

Nuggets-Warriors Betting Preview: Will Denver Turn Things Around in Oracle? article feature image
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Photo credit: USAToday Sports. Pictured: Paul Millsap and Kevin Durant

Betting Odds: Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors

  • Spread: Warriors -8.5
  • Over/Under: 220
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: TNT

The Nuggets are enjoying one of their best seasons in quite a long time this year, battling for the 2-seed in the tough Western Conference. Lately, though, things haven’t been so rosy.

Can they turn things around tonight on the road against the defending champs? Our analysts are here to discuss.

What’s at Stake

The Warriors and Nuggets sit in the top two spots in the Western Conference standings currently, with the defending champs a full game up.

The Nuggets have been reeling lately and could be in danger of getting caught by the Rockets, which would leave them without home-court advantage in the second round. A strong finish, however, could get them the 1-seed.

Betting Trends to Know

When two teams with win percentages of .650 or better meet at the end of the regular season (April games), the favorite has gone 41-25-1 against the spread (ATS).

Under Steve Kerr, the Warriors tend to play to their competition:

  • All regular season games: 199-199-6 (50%) ATS
  • Opponent has winning record: 99-92-2 (52%) ATS
  • Opponent has .600 win percentage or better: 64-41-1 (61%) ATS

And in January or later in the season, the Warriors have gone 41-19 (68%) ATS when facing an opponent with a winning percentage of .600 or better. – John Ewing


Mears: How I’m Handicapping Tonight’s Game

The Nuggets beat the Warriors in Denver during the first week of the season, 100-98. The next two meetings … well, they didn’t quite go that well, as the Warriors blew them out 142-111 and 122-105. Overall, in those three games, the Nuggets have posted a horrendous -20.1 point differential, scoring 103.3 points per 100 possessions on offense and allowing 123.4/100 on defense.

Those numbers are about as bad as they get, and things are even more concerning given Denver’s recent play. Here’s how the offense has performed in the last five games:

  • 3/31 vs. Wizards: 95-90 loss, 91.8 Offensive Rating (5th percentile)
  • 3/29 at Thunder: 115-105 win, 122.3 Offensive Rating (84th percentile)
  • 3/28 at Rockets: 112-85 loss, 94.0 Offensive Rating (7th percentile)
  • 3/26 vs. Pistons: 95-92 win, 97.9 Offensive Rating (13th percentile)
  • 3/24 at Pacers: 124-88 loss, 92.2 Offensive Rating (6th percentile)

Yikes.

I wrote about this a couple of days ago, but it really feels like they’re just playing sluggishly. On the year, they’ve done well not settling for long mid-rangers, ranking 23rd in that regard. Over the past five games, however, they’re taking them on a whopping 14.8% of their shots. They’re getting to the rim just 31.2% of the time, which would rank in the bottom five this year.

They’ve been egregious in transition, and they’re getting to the foul line at the second-worst rate in the league. It’s no surprise that their offense is literally last in the league over the last couple of weeks.

I won’t bombard you with countless videos of proof, but it’s a lot of this …

Lackluster offense with shots falling short rather than long. Whether the Nuggets are just tired at the end of a long season or it’s something more problematic, both are worrisome. Could they get up for a big game in Oracle tonight against the defending champs? Sure, but their history against Golden State this year is pretty uninspiring as well.

Thus, I’ll be looking at the under in this one. The Nuggets offense just isn’t great right now for whatever reason, and it’s possible the Warriors offense is being overvalued as well. One of my favorite Bet Labs systems suggests that, in fact. Historically, home teams coming off a game in which they scored 130-plus points are 57.6% to the under in their next game.

The under is 8-3 in Warriors games in that situation since Kevin Durant came to town, so it’s no surprise given that market data plus the Nuggets’ current play that sharp money is on the under in this one. I’ll be on it, too.


Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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