Kings vs. Nuggets Wednesday NBA Odds & Picks: Bet on Denver to Cruise Past Sacramento (Dec. 23)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jamal Murray (left) and Nikola Jokic.
- Denver kicks off its 2020-2021 NBA season Wednesday when it hosts Sacramento.
- Expectations are rising in the Mile High City, with another run toward a championship on the Nuggets' minds.
- Roberto Arguello takes a look at these Western Conference foes and details why he loves Denver below.
Kings vs. Nuggets Odds
|Kings Odds||+8.5 [BET NOW]|
|Nuggets Odds||-8.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+290/ -375 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||225.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
The Sacramento Kings travel to Denver to face the Nuggets in each team’s season opener Wednesday night.
The Kings hope to use this season to build around its young duo of De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III. When they are on the court, Fox and Bagley have been fun to watch together, but the latter was limited to just 13 games last season due to injury. The Kings also are excited about their first-round pick, Tyrese Haliburton, who has already drawn rave reviews.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets are looking to continue building on their recent success. After making it to the second round of the playoffs in 2019, Denver took the next step to the conference finals last season in the bubble.
The Nuggets have improved greatly as Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic have grown. If they hope to continue their upward trajectory and make the finals, the Nuggets will need Michael Porter Jr. to emerge as a consistent third option on offense.
While there is a ton of uncertainty early in the season, which can make betting challenging, I see enough value for a small play on the Nuggets.
The Kings will need Fox and Bagley on the court together consistently with a better pace if they are going to build off last season’s 12th-place finish in the Western Conference. Sacramento finished 18th in offensive efficiency (110.2) last year, but a healthy Bagley would go a long way to help that, especially if he can stretch the floor with more consistent 3-point shooting. Bagley is extremely athletic and can thrive in transition with Fox, who is one of the fastest players in the NBA.
The Kings also have a dynamic rookie in Haliburton, who thrives as a playmaker with and without the ball on offense. He should help Sacramento play at a better pace while serving as the team’s secondary ball handler behind Fox.
After losing Bogdan Bogdanovic in free agency, the Kings will need more consistent production on the perimeter from players like Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes and Nemanja Bjelica. If the Kings hope to cover or even pull the upset in this game, these players need to be efficient to hang with Denver’s juggernaut offense.
The Nuggets finished third in the Western Conference standings last season, ranking third in the NBA in offensive efficiency (113.1) and 16th in defensive efficiency (111.0). The scary part about this team is that their two best players, Murray and Jokic, are both young and improving.
The Nuggets also have some high-upside players like Porter and Bol Bol, which should make them one of the most fun teams to watch throughout the season.
They lost two of their better big wing defenders in Jerami Grant and Torrey Craig, paving the way for Porter to see more minutes on the wing. Porter showed some nice flashes last season but if the Nuggets want to give the Lakers a run for their money, they need him to be consistent on both ends of the court.
The Nuggets also missed Will Barton in the postseason, and his presence will greatly help the second unit. While losing Grant has been seen as a big loss defensively, the Nuggets were better with Porter on the court instead of Grant as the then-rookie’s previously poor defense began to improve.
To beat the Kings, the Nuggets will need a decent showing from Murray and Jokic, but a great performance from either will go a long way toward covering the 8-point spread. The Nuggets looked impressive in the preseason and if their role players can continue their positive momentum into the regular season, they should cover this line.
Faster tempo from the Kings in Year 2 under head coach Luke Walton will help them in the long haul of the NBA season, but not against the Nuggets, who have more weapons and should be more cohesive after a long postseason run. Denver also had an NBA-best net rating of +18.8 in the preseason as just about everyone who saw action contributed.
The Kings also won’t be as in sync after losing Bogdanovic while also adding Bagley back into the mix after he missed most of last season. Bagley was limited in training camp after recovering from COVID-19, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Walton is conservative with his minutes to start the season.
With the help of Bet Labs, we can see that 7-10-point favorites who made the postseason playing an opponent who missed the postseason in the first game of the season have won money (ROI of 5.3%) over the last 15 years where we have data.
Furthermore, this trend has moved upwards most significantly over the past three seasons, which gives me just enough confidence for a small play on the Nuggets -8.5 and would play it up to -9.5.
Pick: Nuggets -8.5 (-110)