Nuggets vs. Warriors NBA Odds & Picks: Denver Has Advantage in Matchup of Shorthanded Squads (Monday, April 12)

Nuggets vs. Warriors NBA Odds & Picks: Denver Has Advantage in Matchup of Shorthanded Squads (Monday, April 12) article feature image
Credit:

Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon.

  • The Nuggets were red-hot before running into the Celtics on Sunday.
  • How will they fare in the second of a back-to-back and with star guard Jamal Murray still out?
  • Phillip Kall breaks down the game and makes his prediction below.

Nuggets vs. Warriors Odds

Nuggets Odds -0.5
Warriors Odds +0.5 
Moneyline -110 / -110
Over/Under 206 (-115 / -105)
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Sunday evening and via PointsBet.

After a hot 8-0 start with the newly acquired Aaron Gordon, Denver’s win streak slammed to a stop on Sunday against Boston. The Nuggets’ offense was completely unrecognizable against the Celtics as they shot 36.4% from the field and 23.5% from three. Traveling to Golden State for the second leg of a back-to-back means they will need to make a turnaround quickly.

For the Warriors, a different challenge lies ahead as the injuries are starting to mount. Starters Kelly Oubre Jr. and James Wiseman are expected to miss this one. Losing key players is the last thing the Warriors need as Steph Curry’s injury set them back in the standings. While Curry was out, Golden State went 1-5 and are currently 10th in the West.

Let’s dig deeper to see if the Nuggets will bounce back or the Warriors will piece something together in a game oddsmakers have made a virtual coin flip.

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Denver Nuggets

One major hurdle in the way of a quick bounce back is the absence of Jamal Murray. A sore knee has kept Murray on the sideline and I expect Denver to remain cautious. 

Without their point guard, Denver still continues to win, going 3-1, but the numbers still show a drop-off in quality. Denver typically relies on its elite offense to make carry the load. However, while Murray has missed, the Nuggets’ Offensive Rating has fallen to 114.3 and 15th in the league, per NBA.com

While the offense lacks its usual pop recently, this matchup with the Warriors could be different. The absence of Wiseman and Eric Paschall leaves Golden State’s interior defensive rotation thinner and smaller than usual. This is the perfect opportunity for current MVP favorite Nikola Jokic to further separate himself from the pack.

Jokic’s partner in crime during this time has been forward Michael Porter Jr. Porter did have his worst shooting performance against Boston, going just 1-of-12 from deep. If he can rebound to his average of 44.7% from three, the Nuggets’ offense will see a huge improvement from Sunday.

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Golden State Warriors

The story of the Warriors as usual is all about Curry. Since his return from injury, Curry’s averaging 36.0 points and shooting 43.2% from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, Curry’s exceptional play has not led to victories as the Warriors are 3-3 since his return.

If Curry’s performances were not enough before, the losses of Oubre and Wiseman leaves the Warriors without their third- and fourth-best scorers. With the 21st ranked Offensive Rating at 109.3, the Warriors had little room for error to begin with. These injuries could send this offense from a spot of bad to worse.

While the offense looks for answers, the one thing Golden State can rely on is its defense. The Warriors rank eighth in Defensive Rating with a mark 111.0. What has separated their defense from the pack has been their ability to play actively and contest shots. This has them forcing the fifth-most turnovers and allowing the fourth-lowest field goal percentage on two-point shots, per Basketball-Reference.


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Nuggets-Warriors Pick

Both teams enter this game missing key offensive contributors. For the Warriors, this will likely just put the ball into Curry’s hands even more. However, as his recent performances show, even his 30+ point performances might not be enough.

For the Nuggets, Murray’s absence means the ball moves into the hands of Jokic and Porter more. In our small sample size, we have seen Jokic quickly adapt to a more facilitator-type role and average 11.5 assists, per NBA.com. On the scoring side, all eyes will be on Porter. As a young player in his breakout season, this is his opportunity to show he can be the third star Denver needs on the wing.

With Golden State having limited options offensively, Denver will be able to focus on stopping Curry. Even though he has been on fire recently, it is hard to see him overcoming the extra attention without Oubre and Wiseman.

Denver, on the other hand, has several options to fill in for Murray. The main one being the current MVP favorite who has a massive size advantage inside. The big question will be if a second player can step up and help Jokic carry the load. As one of the biggest believers in Porter, I think he shows his talents and rebounds after his dreadful showing against the Celtics.

Back the Nuggets to utilize Jokic’s size against the undermanned Warriors.

Pick: Nuggets -0.5, bet to -3.5

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