Saturday NBA Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers Game 2 (Sept. 5)
Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Jamal Murray, left, defending Kawhi Leonard.
- The Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers collide in Game 2 of their NBA playoffs matchup on Saturday, Sept. 5.
- The Clippers took care of business in Game 1, making themselves heavy favorites for the second game in a row.
- Read on to see Brandon Anderson's breakdown the game and a team total he has his eye on.
Nuggets vs. Clippers Game 2 Betting Odds
|Nuggets Odds||+9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Clippers Odds||-9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+350/-435 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||224 [BET NOW]|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
Well, that was ugly.
It turns out all our analysis wasn’t particularly necessary in Game 1 series. Denver was exhausted. The Nuggets hung in there for a quarter, then got run off the court. The end.
There’s no big macro analysis to take away from the game. Los Angeles is just better, which is something we already knew entering the game. Combine that fact with an exhausted Nuggets squad and it was simply too much for the underdogs to overcame in the series opener.
Was there any good news for Denver in Game 1?
Gary Harris started. That was good. He still hasn’t found his shot yet, but Denver needs his defense out there as a rare two-way option. Jamal Murray didn’t show any real signs of struggle after that Game 7 thigh bruise. Paul Millsap was decent, which was better than expected in a tough matchup.
However, that’s about all the positives that could be taken from that defeat.
Bottom line, the Nuggets are in a world of trouble. The Clippers have better options to limit both Murray and Nikola Jokic than Utah did and Denver shot poorly in Game 1, going a dismal 9 for 36 behind the arc for an ugly 25 percent.
That happens. Much wore worrying was the defense. The Clippers scored with ease, notably making 38 of 60 shots inside the arc for 63 percent. Even more worrying, Los Angeles hit only 10 three-point shots and had only three players even attempt a free throw.
The Clippers are just scoring far too easy. They had 69 points in the first half and the game was effectively over at halftime.
Los Angeles Clippers
Kawhi Leonard continues to be a man on a mission. Like last season, he is clearly the best player in the playoffs right now. Marcus Morris continues to light it up beyond the arc and Patrick Beverley was back, looking his usual, pesky self in limited action.
Montrezl Harrell’s effort gave Denver all sorts of problems. Suffice it to say, Los Angeles is simply more talented around the floor and this is a terrible matchup for the Nuggets.
Paul George scored 19 points, but finished with five turnovers and still doesn’t look comfortable. Denver’s best chance this series probably involves more George failure and a much better scoring output from its own guys. However, it’s not clear it has any defensive answers for the Clippers.
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Betting Analysis & Pick
The Clippers are the better team, but they are probably not a 120-97 scoreline better. This was a rested team against an opponent coming off a brutal seven-game series. The game was dead even for 20 game minutes, with Murray hitting shots early before the Clippers went on a 24-9 second quarter run to start its run toward the win.
Don’t read too much into Game 1. This series effectively starts Saturday night, and unfortunately for the Nuggets, that means punting on a tired Game 1 and needing to win four of six. For now, they need to start with a win.
I expect Denver to hang much closer in Game 2 and it’s still a big ask for the Clippers to beat a very good Denver team by double digits.
For now, I’m sticking with the same play we made in Game 1. The Clippers are averaging 125.7 PPG in the playoffs, and there’s little reason to believe Denver has any answer for Leonard, Harrell or anyone else on the Clippers roster.
I won’t be shocked if the Nuggets hang closer in Game 2, but they’re not going to shut down Los Angeles. I’m riding the Clippers to go over the number in their total points.
THE PICK: Clippers team total over 111.5 points (play up to 117).