Nuggets vs. Blazers Game 7 Betting Preview: Will Portland’s Experience Be the Deciding Factor?
Photo credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets Betting Odds
- Spread: Nuggets -5.5
- Over/Under: 212.5
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: ABC
- Series Score: Tied 3-3
>> All odds as of Saturday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.
The upstart Nuggets have been one of the best teams at home all year, and they’ll host Game 7 in Denver Sunday afternoon.
Can their young core get it done again? Or will we see more Dame Time? Our analysts dive in.
Betting Trends to Know
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 62 points as the Blazers forced a Game 7. They have the momentum after their Game 6 victory, but history is against them advancing to the Western Conference Finals. Since 2005, teams that won Game 6 have gone 20-25 straight up and 23-22 against the spread in Game 7. If the team is an underdog, they have gone 8-20 SU and 13-15 ATS. –– John Ewing
The Nuggets finished last in the Northwest Division last season despite a 46-36 record, while the Blazers finished first at 49-33. Since 2005, when teams that failed to make the playoffs the year before face a team that did make the playoffs, in a Game 7, the team with the playoff experience is 16-3 ATS (84.2%), covering by 6.8 points per game. When those experienced teams are listed as the underdog, they are 5-0 ATS, covering by 7.2 points per game. — Evan Abrams
Both the Raptors and Nuggets lost by double digits in Game 6 and now have an uphill battle in Game 7 on the road. Since 2013-14, teams to lose by double-digits in Game 6 are 10-14 (41.7%) ATS in Game 7. — Abrams
Mears: How I’m Betting Game 7
The Denver Nuggets having home court is obviously huge here. They were one of the best home teams in the regular season this year, going 25-16 (61%) ATS and covering by an average of 3.24 points per game. They had extreme home/road splits, which isn’t too surprising given the elevation factor plus how young their core is.
That split has largely held true in the playoffs. Here’s how these teams have performed at home vs. on the road:
- Nuggets: +8.3 Net Rating at home, -5.6 on the road
- Blazers: +6.5 Net Rating at home, -4.8 on the road
The issue, of course, is that bookmakers certainly know this trend, and they adjust the spread accordingly. The Blazers were -4 in Game 6 in Portland, and now this Game 7 line is Nuggets -5.5.
Even still, it seems that bettors believe in the Nuggets: They’re getting 59% of the bets as of Saturday afternoon and 62% of the money wagered. It has historically been profitable to buy favorites getting more money than bets (per Bet Labs):
That said, Evan’s trend about playoff experience is incredibly compelling. Diving further into that, favorites and home teams (the same sample) have gone 0-5 historically in that spot. If the Nuggets cover, they’ll be the first team since at least 2005 to do so.
There are also reasons to believe in the Blazers: In this second round, they’ve led all teams in percentage of “open shots” — a defender 4-6 feet away. They’ve hit just 33.1% of those attempts, however. Damian Lillard was good in Games 1 and 6 but struggled in the others thanks to excellent defense from the Nuggets’ perimeter defenders. He’s personally shooting just 28% on open shots in this series, and we know he’s always a candidate to take over a game, especially in the clutch.
As such, I don’t have a strong opinion on the side, but I do think there could be value on the total. In the playoffs, it has been profitable to fade the public on totals, and the public is on the over here.
That matches with the broad trend John Ewing found here that Game 7s tend to be tight and go under. Like above, if the majority of bets are on the over, the under does even better, hitting at a 59.9% rate. These teams are very familiar with each other; there aren’t many adjustments to be made at this point.
The best value might be found in the second half, though. I wrote extensively about them here, and interestingly the second half totals have matched the first half totals in every game but that OT one. If the first half has gone over, the second half has, too. And vice versa.
And to tie a bow on that experience trend: In Game 7s since 2005, if one of the teams didn’t make the postseason the year before, the under is 8-4.
If you want to bet the under, though, I would wait until close to tip. The public is all about the over, which means we could continue to see it rise. Might as well wait for the best possible number. — Bryan Mears
Moore: Why I Like the Overs
Denver is 1-3 ATS this postseason with more than 51% of the tickets on them. I’ll grab Portland just based on the likelihood of the Blazers hanging to the very end.
I also like Portland’s over of 103.5 and the full-game over of 212.5. Game 7s are certainly ugly and nervous. But both of these teams are more offensive-centric than defensive-centric. The defenses are what will feel the nerves and tightness in this series, and I expect this to be a higher-scoring game.
Getting 103.5 on the Blazers given their Game 6 adjustments with Zach Collins and Rodney Hood is too good to pass up, and given that I expect Denver to put up at least 110 win or lose, I like the total as well. – Matt Moore
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.