Warriors-Nuggets Betting Preview: Historical Trends Favor Golden State

Warriors-Nuggets Betting Preview: Historical Trends Favor Golden State article feature image

USAToday Sports. Pictured: Draymond Green and Nikola Jokic

Betting odds: Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets

  • Spread: Warriors -4.5
  • Over/Under: 228.5
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET

>> All odds as of noon ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets

We have two 2-0 Western Conference powerhouses facing off Sunday night when the Warriors visit the Nuggets.

Can Denver continue its excellent defensive campaign and beat the defending champs? Our analysts are here to discuss.

Is the Nuggets Defense Real?

It’s admittedly been just two games, but the Nuggets have been excellent defensively, which was their biggest question mark heading into the season. They’ve allowed less than 100 points in each of the first two contests, posting a league-best defensive rating of 95.4.

They’ve done it at the most important areas of the floor, too. They’ve allowed only 54.5% shooting at the rim (fourth in the league) and 28.4% shooting from the 3-point line (third).

The starting lineup of Jamal Murray-Gary Harris-Will Barton-Paul Millsap-Nikola Jokic has posted a +28.6 net rating across 95 possessions, allowing just 85.1 points/100. Those are incredible marks, and while they’re likely to regress a bit, this is a superb sign for what was expected to be an improved team with a healthy Millsap alongside Jokic.

Denver will have a stiffer test against the Warriors, although Golden State’s offense does have some surprising question marks.

This Warriors’ roster — as crazy as it might sound given the presence of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant — lacks shooting. None of their other players are even willing to shoot from beyond the arc, and as a result, the spacing we’re used to seeing in Golden State is a little more condensed — especially with those three on the floor.

So far this season, the Warriors rank just 23rd in the league in frequency of shots at the rim and 28th in 3-point rate. That might not matter most nights given their talent — even from mid-range — but it does give the offense less room for error.

Can the Nuggets defense continue its hot streak to take advantage of the Warriors’ questions? We’ll find out on Sunday night. Bryan Mears

Betting Trends to Know

The Warriors have played two games, winning both straight up but failing to cover the spread in each.

If you’ve been burned by Golden State early this season, don’t jump off the bandwagon just yet. Teams that have struggled to cover (winning less than 30% of their games (ATS) have been good bets when facing a quality opponent (60% or better win rate).

Since 2005, teams in a spot like the Warriors have gone 213-149-7 (59%) ATS in their next game.

Denver is on the second night of a back-to-back. Under Steve Kerr, Golden State is 38-26-3 (59%) ATS when facing an opponent playing consecutive games. That said, the Warriors are only 5-7-1 ATS when they face a team on a back-to-back on the road.

Since 2005, the Nuggets have gone 19-42 (31%) ATS when playing a back-to-back at home.John Ewing

The Warriors are coming off a great offensive road performance where they scored more than 120 points on 56.3% shooting from the field, but they still failed to cover the spread in Utah.

Since 2005, teams that shot higher than 50% from the field on the road and didn’t cover the spread are 119-97-2 ATS (55.1%) when they continue their road trip in their next game — including 67-50 ATS (57.3%) when they face a conference opponent.

This early in the season, it’s hard to judge a team’s record. But when you look at teams that made the playoffs in the previous season, they are 73-53-2 ATS (57.9%) in this spot, too.

After the Warriors shot 56.3% in Utah, should you expect a bit of a letdown early on from Golden State? Not usually.

Under Kerr, the Warriors are 33-21-3 against the first-half spread in the game after shooting at least 55% from the field. Both since 2003 and since Kerr was hired in 2014, he is the most profitable coach in the NBA in this spot.

When the Warriors try to stay hot while on the road in their next game, they are 18-8-1 against the first-half spread. Since 2015, road teams overall in this spot are 122-90-6 (57.5%), profiting bettors 25.6 units.

The Warriors head to Denver off a road game in Utah before having to return home to face the Suns on Monday.

Under Mike Malone, the Nuggets are 30-30-1 against the first-half spread when opponents travel to Denver on a road trip. In the second half, though, opposing teams are 37-24 (60.7%) against the second-half spread in Denver on a road trip, profiting bettors 9.8 units. That makes Malone’s Nuggets the most profitable second-half opponent in the league in this spot. Evan Abrams

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.