Nuggets vs. Spurs Game 7 Betting Preview: Will Denver’s Young Core Step Up?

Nuggets vs. Spurs Game 7 Betting Preview: Will Denver’s Young Core Step Up? article feature image

Photo credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Denver Nuggets

Game 7 Betting Odds: San Antonio Spurs at Denver Nuggets

  • Spread: Nuggets -6
  • Over/Under: 209.5
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: TNT
  • Series Score: Tied 3-3

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

Ah, the most beautiful words in sports: Game 7.

The Spurs and Nuggets have gone back and forth all series, both looking great and terrible at times. Which team is worth a bet in this high-pressure situation? Our analysts dive in.

Betting Trends to Know

Gregg Popovich will be coaching in his seventh career Game 7. The Spurs are 3-3 straight-up and 4-2 against the spread (ATS) in those games, covering by 3.4 points per game. Popovich is both 2-1 straight up and ATS as an underdog and on the road in Game 7s. — Evan Abrams

In Game 6, the Spurs shot 57.1% from the field, including 41.7% from 3-point range. Their 57.1% field goal mark is their highest of the 2019 playoffs and highest in a playoff game since 2016 against the Thunder (it’s worth noting the Spurs lost their next game vs. OKC, shooting just 42.6% from the field).

Since 2005, 18 different teams have played a Game 5, 6 or 7 after shooting 55% from the field or higher in their previous game. Those teams went 14-4 (77.8%) ATS, covering the spread by 6.3 points per game. — Abrams

The Spurs avoided elimination, beating the Nuggets 120-103 in Game 6, but history is against them advancing. Since 2005, road teams in Game 7s have gone 13-31 (29.5%) straight-up and 19-25 ATS. Bettors shouldn’t expect momentum from winning Game 6 to carry over. — John Ewing

Is 5.5 points too many for the Nuggets to cover? History says no. Since 2005, Game 7 favorites of five or more points have gone 21-9 ATS, covering by 4.5 points per game. — Ewing

Locky: How I’m Betting Game 7

I was wrong in thinking the Nuggets could put the Spurs away on the road, and now we have a Game 7 in the lowest profile series of the first round. I’ve really had a hard time nailing down spread value because these teams have had very polarizing performances back and forth each way. There’s very little to count on heading into a game in this series.

The total hasn’t budged each game, though; it’s hovered in the 209-210 range throughout the series. In this case, with a Game 7, I’d expect every situation to be micromanaged by the coaches even more than usual, and there should be some nerves early on for the Nuggets, who have never faced such a high-pressure situation with this core before.

The Spurs are coming off a blazing-hot shooting performance and should probably regress a little, plus we know they are going to want to slow this game down as much as possible anyway to be successful.

I think these are all ingredients for an under play at the current number of 210. — Ken Barkley

Mears: How I’m Handicapping Tonight’s Game

These teams have been almost completely even this series: After six games, the Nuggets sit slightly ahead with a +0.7 Net Rating. In fact, they’re nearly identical in almost every four factor metric. This one deserved a Game 7.

I was on the Nuggets to win this series at the beginning, and I’m sticking with them still. They were the superior team all year, and they had very notable home/road splits we’ve discussed all series. They were the second-best team at home, posting a +10.3 Net Rating; on the road, they were 15th with a -2.9 Net Rating.

They were consistently undervalued in Denver, going 25-16 ATS. It’s a good thing they have home-court advantage in this one, especially with such a young core. Further helping the home/road angle: The Spurs ranked 17th in the league this season with a -3.0 Net Rating.

It feels simplistic to boil a long series down to one factor, but it’s honestly been the case: In their wins, the Spurs have gotten ridiculously hot shooting the ball. That happened in Game 6: They posted a 137.2 Offensive Rating (98th percentile) and 64.2% effective field goal mark (95th percentile).

Look at these shooting accuracy numbers (per Cleaning the Glass):

And that’s the way the Spurs have to win. They aren’t going to run an optimized offense: In Game 6, they took just 11 shots at the rim and 23 three-pointers. On the year, they rank absolutely dead last in frequency of shots from those two incredibly valuable shot locations.

But, man, can they shoot the ball sometimes. And that’s been the case, as they led the league in 3-point percentage. In fact, they were top six in literally every area on the floor. When you have shooters like that, sometimes you don’t need optimization.

Game 7 will be no different than the other games: The Spurs can absolutely win this if they’re hot. The Nuggets didn’t even play that poorly in Game 6; Nikola Jokic had one of the best games of his career, putting up 43 points and a 45% assist rate in 38 minutes. The Spurs were just better.

But I’ll bet on the Nuggets covering at home, like they’ve done consistently all year. I’m also swayed by the trends my colleagues listed above, especially John’s final one about decent-sized favorites covering in Game 7s. Give me the Nuggets to advance to the second round and to cover. — 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.

How would you rate this article?