Denver Nuggets 2021 NBA Win Total Odds & Pick: Where to Find Value On This Over/Under
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jamal Murray
Nuggets Win Total Odds
The Case for the Over
Jerami Grant was great in the playoffs, and the Nuggets losing him matters. But in the regular season, when the Nuggets played at a 50-win pace before the suspension, Grant came off the bench and all the metrics indicated they were worse with him on the floor.
This isn’t to say Denver wouldn’t be better off if Grant didn’t sign with Detroit, because they would be. But if the Nuggets were good enough last year to hit this over with his having not gotten acclimated to the team, perhaps his absence isn’t going to be the difference between 45 wins and 42.
Nikola Jokic returns, Jamal Murray returns, most of last year’s roster (save Grant and Mason Plumlee) returns. Grant has been replaced by JaMychal Green, who is a downgrade but provides shooting and defense. Isaiah Hartenstein is a downgrade from Plumlee but is a finisher to run the pick and roll with the second unit.
Denver added Euroleague sensation Facundo Campazzo as well. He’s 5-foot-11 but brings toughness, creativity, and style. Defensively, he won’t lack for effort even if he struggles with size.
The biggest reason for the over? Michael Porter Jr.
The youngster averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game last season per 36 minutes. All word from training camp is the Nuggets are ready to take the training wheels off the 6-foot-10 scorer.
Even if MPJ’s playoff defensive struggles remain an issue, he raises their regular-season floor. He’ll help Denver win a lot of games that it couldn’t last year under the circumstances of “No one played well, but MPJ scored 28 and that was enough.”
He is a bonafide, top-flight scorer waiting to happen.
Denver has hit its over every season under head coach Michael Malone except last year, and despite missing half their team to start the bubble and being without multiple starters in the bubble games, they finished with a win percentage that would have put them just two wins under their preseason over/under.
A sub-.500 pace is too far a drop.
The Case for the Under
The Nuggets lost two veterans who were major rotation pieces in Grant and Plumlee. You can make the argument they found decent replacements, but those new guys are not the same level of players. In the Western Conference, that might matter in the end.
Paul Millsap looked very much shot at the end of the season. Will Barton, Gary Harris, and Porter all want to start. If you don’t start Millsap, the defense is likely bad even if the offense is great. If you don’t start Barton or Porter, there might be locker room issues and the offense might struggle.
Murray was sensational in the playoffs but has yet to show he can be a consistent regular-season player.
The Nuggets play in a tough division with at least two other playoff teams vying for the top spot.
Denver has been outrageously good in the clutch, which probably suggests they’ll regress at some point. The Nuggets were 9-5 with one of the best records in three-point games in the league. Any regression at all and that slips them into the territory for the under.
Denver has to find minutes for Murray, Harris, Compazzo, and Monte Morris, all of whom are 6-foot-4 or shorter. Porter was targeted so much in the playoffs that it’s likely he’ll get that treatment at least some of the time.
The Nuggets may indeed average 120 points per night, but they’ll be at risk of giving up 125 any night.
They’re integrating multiple new pieces when their previous season ended in September, and Jokic famously starts every regular season slowly.
Denver finished with the largest difference between their Pythagorean win percentage and actual (6.7 percentage points better).
Is Denver just going to keep progressing every season? Or will they eventually regress?
Denver Nuggets Win Total Bet
Malone has proven his ability to get the most out of his rosters in his time in Denver. Jokic-Murray-MPJ is quite possibly a three-All-Star combination in a few years. But even now, that’s enough talent for a high baseline. The Nuggets have some trade options to improve in-season and a good enough team as of now.
Winning 51 would be a regression from the past two seasons and would still hit the over. The over has value.