Clippers vs. Nuggets Odds & Pick (Wednesday, August 12): Back L.A. on First Half Line

Credit:

Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kawhi Leonard (2), Paul George (13) of the LA Clippers at the Staples Center.

Clippers vs. Nuggets Betting Odds

Head here for Friday’s Nuggets-Raptors preview, and here for Friday’s Clippers-Thunder preview.

Clippers odds -5 [BET NOW]
Nuggets odds +5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -210/+176 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 228.5 [BET NOW]
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV ESPN

Odds as of Wednesday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


The Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets square off Wednesday night with LA holding a 1.5 game lead over the Denver for the second seed in the West. These teams split during the regular season.

Under normal NBA regular season, we’d see both teams go all out for the chance at home court advantage. During current circumstances in the NBA bubble, both the Clippers and Nuggets are likely focused on getting their players into rhythm and ensuring they stay healthy for the playoffs. 

Where is the betting value in this matchup? Let’s break it down.

Los Angeles Clippers

By now you’re familiar with the Clippers and their proclivity to rest players. The bubble hasn’t been any different with Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell all being absent for their respective reasons. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have also had their standard load management during this restart.

It actually hasn’t mattered. 

Although the Clippers have coasted to a 3-3 record in the bubble, they still have the third best net rating over that time at +5, fueled by an offensive rating of 117.9. In addition, per Cleaning The Glass, they are 4.4 in expected wins. Their expected wins extrapolated to an 82-game season shows that they’re playing like a 60-win team.

The Clippers just haven’t played up to their ability defensively during this restart. They ranked 13th, giving up 1.13 points per possession. Furthermore, whether it’s through lazy rotations and closeouts, their three-point defense has left a lot to be desired.

The Nets defeated them largely because they went 20 of 43 from three-point range and the Blazers, Mavericks and Suns also made 17 threes in their respective games. 

This is a championship-level team that is prioritizing health. This is still one of the deepest teams in the league so even if the stars don’t play they’ve proven they have the horse to get the job done, as they did against the Portland Trailblazers on Saturday without Kawhi for the entire game, plus Paul George and an actual point guard for the closing stretch of the game.

Denver Nuggets

Despite having the fifth-ranked offense in the bubble at 118.6 points per 100 possessions, they have a negative net rating (-3.0) due to having the league’s worst defense with a defensive rating of 121.5.

The Nuggets have been getting torched by teams from the perimeter, allowing teams to shoot 45% from three-point range. On Monday night, they were an elixir for a downright anemic Lakers offense that was shooting 25.4% on 32.8 three pointers per game before breaking out against Denver, shooting 14-29, including a game winning three from Kyle Kuzma. 

The Nuggets have also been without their entire roster since this restart. Gary Harris and Will Harris have yet to play with injuries. Jerami Grant also sat out Monday night’s game against the Lakers with knee soreness and is questionable for tonight’s game against the Clippers.

Jamal Murray has returned to the lineup Saturday and has been a bright spot for a Nuggets team that hasn’t had much perimeter shooting. Denver’s high offensive rating comes from their ability to shoot well at the rim and midrange. However, they’ve largely struggled to score from three-point range without Gary Harris and Will Barton.

Nonetheless, Mike Malone is also prioritizing the health of his team, benching his starters in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s game vs the Lakers as well as the fourth quarter of their game against the Blazers.

Betting Analysis & Pick

The ending of Monday night’s Nuggets vs Lakers game speaks volumes about how difficult it is to handicap some of the last remaining seeding games before the NBA playoffs.   

The Lakers had their starters on the floor in the fourth quarter against the Nuggets bench featuring PJ Dozier, Bol Bol, Keita Bates-Diop, Mason Plumlee and Monte Morris. Still, the Nuggets managed to put up 1.32 points per possession. It took an all out effort and a last second Kyle Kuzma three pointer for the Lakers to get the win, failing to cover -5 against the bench who played the entire fourth quarter.

All that said, I like the Clippers in this matchup provided that their starters play to open the game. I would continue to monitor lineups for changes, however, oddsmakers opening this line at 5.5 makes it clear that kind of effort we should expect from them tonight.

In addition, Denver’s inability to guard the perimeter will be an issue tonight against the Clippers, who are shooting a league-leading 42.7% from three-point range in the bubble. The Clippers haven’t guarded the perimeter well but Denver won’t be able to capitalize in that area.

With both teams likely to rest to close the game, I’m going to lay the -3 on the Clippers in the 1st half.

Pick: Clippers 1H -3

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