NBA Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Nuggets vs. Clippers Game 5 (Friday, Sept. 11)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jamal Murray and Mike Malone.
Nuggets vs. Clippers Game 5 Odds
|Nuggets Odds||+8.5 [BET NOW]|
|Clippers Odds||-8.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+320/-400 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||216.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||6:30 p.m. ET|
Ah yes, here it is. The Friday night game all of us are definitely most excited for. Both Los Angeles teams are up 3-1 now, so it seems like only a formality before we finally get that Lakers-Clippers matchup we’ve been waiting 14 months for.
Don’t tell that to the Nuggets, though. They’ve been down 3-1 before, and they’ve been down plenty in games this series. Still, Denver has proven time and again it will not give up. Do the Nuggets have anything left in the tank for one final push with their backs against the wall again?
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If the Nuggets want any chance of extending this series, they’re going to have to find some scoring in a hurry. Denver scored only 85 points in Game 4, its lowest in the playoffs — even lower than the ugly Game 3 it mailed in against the Jazz. The Nuggets are averaging just under 100 points per game for the series.
Denver rookie Michael Porter Jr. thinks he has the answer with his postgame comments complaining about not being involved enough. MPJ had 15 points in Game 4 but had two touches in the second half, almost completely shut out of the script. Denver is not getting elite scoring from Jamal Murray anymore, and outside of him and Nikola Jokic, it’s struggling to find points. We’ll see if Mike Malone unleashes Porter or if he punishes him for his outspoken comments.
Murray is really struggling. He’s under 50% true shooting on the series and looks exhausted. Maybe Patrick Beverley is getting to him or maybe he just has nothing left in the tank after giving everything against Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz.
Los Angeles Clippers
Other than Kawhi Leonard’s efficiency dropping to mere human numbers, the Nuggets haven’t really had many answers for LA’s offense. Marcus Morris is still hitting everything, Paul George is finally starting to look like himself. Montrezl Harrell is starting to round into form. And even a “struggling” Kawhi has been fantastic and more than enough thus far.
The Clippers’ only real problem this series has been their own complacency. They continue to look like the 2018 Warriors at times — in a bad way. LA blew Denver out in Game 1 and then came out completely flat-footed in Game 2, looking like it thought it had the series won.
The Clippers continue to mess around in games, too, taking their foot off the gas pedal with a big lead and allowing Denver to hang around. A 31-14 lead early in the second quarter of Game 4 turned into a tie game 12 game minutes later. LA made another push to go up 86-67 and thought it had dealt the knockout blow, but again, the Nuggets pulled it to single-digits with a couple of minutes left. Denver is not the better team, and it’s very clear at this point. But they are not going down without a fight.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I’ve been ice cold the last few games in this series. I tried to ride the Clippers over, but LA keeps taking its foot off the gas pedal, and Denver has slowed things way down. In Game 4, I pivoted to a Denver cover, but the Nuggets were completely outmanned (and still almost covered late anyway).
I can’t shake the feeling we’re getting one more mental letdown by the Clippers here. At 3-1, I think they think this series is over and already have their eyes on the Lakers. I still think the Nuggets can push one more game to the limit or even steal it.
I don’t love Nuggets +8. If Denver keeps it that close, I’d rather bet them to get the win, and if it’s not quite close enough to do that, I think LA covers late. I don’t love the Denver ML price, either, with +290 just not providing much value.
I think I’ll be waiting for an opportunity to live bet this one. Wait for one of those five-minute Clipper runs, probably punctuated by a big Kawhi or Patrick Beverley steal and a yelling dunk by Montrezl Harrell as the Clippers pound their chests and celebrate a win mid-second quarter.
I’m looking for something around a 10-point LA lead in the first half, something that juices Denver’s moneyline into the +500 or better range. At that point, if the Nuggets still seem engaged, I’ll take my chances. Denver has enough offense to finish one of these comebacks, and I think that’s the best play of the night.
The Pick: Live bet Nuggets moneyline in-game if the Clippers pull out ahead