Nuggets vs. Blazers Game 1 Betting Preview: Is Rested Portland Undervalued?

Nuggets vs. Blazers Game 1 Betting Preview: Is Rested Portland Undervalued? article feature image

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0).

Game 1 Betting Odds: Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets

  • Spread: Nuggets -4
  • Over/Under: 216
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: TNT

>> All odds as of Sunday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

The Blazers took care of business in Round 1 quickly, while the Nuggets had to win a Game 7 at home. What does all that mean for tonight’s Game 1? Our analysts dive in.

Betting Trends to Know

The Nuggets finished off the Spurs in Game 7 at home on Saturday night and now have a quick turnaround to face the Blazers at home in Game 1. Portland, on the other hand, finished off OKC last week and enters Game 1 on six days rest.

Since 2005, teams playing on two days rest or less facing a team on six days rest or more are just 7-17 (29.2%) against-the-spread (ATS), failing to cover by 5.0 points per game. — Evan Abrams

Teams that play at home in a Game 1 on two days rest or less are just 9-16-1 ATS (36%) since 2005, including 8-15-1 ATS (34.8%) when that team is listed as the favorite. — Abrams

Rest looks like an advantage for the Blazers, but well-rested teams haven’t performed well on the road in the playoffs. Since 2005, road teams with four or more days between games are only 57-93-1 (38%) ATS. — John Ewing

In Game 7 against the Spurs, the Nuggets shot 2-of-20 from 3-point range in the win. The last team to win a Game 7 after making two 3-point field goals or less was the Miami Heat in 2004. It has happened only five times since 1990.

Since 2005, teams that are coming off a bad 3-point shooting performance (lower than 20%) in the playoffs and then play at home have covered the spread at a 66.7% rate (48-24-3 ATS), covering by 3.8 points per game. — Abrams

Mears: My Thoughts on Game 1

This line of Nuggets -4 is a weird one. I would have expected it to be lower after what we just saw in Round 1. The Blazers dismantled the Thunder fairly quickly, while the Nuggets had to battle in seven games against the Spurs and are now playing just two days later.

But alas, this line suggests the Nuggets are about a point better than the Blazers after factoring in home-court advantage.

The rest factor is interesting: The Blazers are way more rested, but John noted above that the betting market has tended to overrate those teams on the road. That said, teams in the Nuggets’ spot have also done terribly against-the-spread over the years.

Making things even more complicated, we don’t have a ton of data on these two teams as currently constructed due to the injury to Jusuf Nurkic. I was bullish on the Thunder in Round 1 because of the Blazers’ season-long performance without him, but they obviously did just fine, winning in five games and posting a +6.3 Net Rating.

I do think that Nurkic’s absence could loom especially large in this series, however. The Thunder, for whatever reason (part roster, part coaching) were not able to really take advantage of Enes Kanter playing big minutes. But the Nuggets absolutely should given they run a ton of their offense through the most-skilled big man in the league in Nikola Jokic.

That matchup could tip the series in the Nuggets’ favor, although it’s very possible Damian Lillard could pick up right where he left off in the first round, which was being absolutely unstoppable and one of the best players in the NBA. He could certainly go off against Jamal Murray and the Nuggets defense.

For Game 1, I would slightly lean toward the Blazers covering due to the rest advantage in this spot. I think we’ll learn a lot more about this series even after the first game tonight. — Bryan Mears

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.

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