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Nuggets vs. Spurs Game 2 Betting Preview: Back Denver to Even This Series?

Credit:

Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jamal Murray, DeMar DeRozan

Game 2 Betting Odds: San Antonio Spurs at Denver Nuggets

  • Spread: Nuggets -7
  • Over/Under: 208
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: NBA TV
  • Series Score: Spurs Lead 1-0

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


The Nuggets lost Game 1 as 5.5-point favorites. Now they’re -7 for Game 2. Can they even the series before it heads to San Antonio? Or is their playoff inexperience showing?

Our experts analyze the matchup and make their picks.

Betting Trends to Know

Gregg Popovich loves himself some Denver.

Since becoming coach of the Spurs in 1996-97, his teams are 30-18 straight up and 34-14 against the spread in Denver. The Spurs are 16-5 ATS in Denver over the past decade, covering the spread by 5.8 points per game. Evan Abrams

This over/under has been bet down to 208 after opening at 208.5 (see live odds here). When a total has dropped in an NBA playoff game since 2005, the under has gone 279-246-8 (53.1%).

The more the line drops, the more profitable it’s been to bet the under. John Ewing

Moore: Can Denver Bounce Back?

If you want non-data signals to back the Nuggets, look no further than their post-game reaction.

They lost Game 1, on their home court, in the most frustrating way possible, in their first playoff appearance … and they were cool as cucumbers. Michael Malone was genuinely satisfied with the performance; his team just missed shots. The Nuggets shot 5-of-17 on catch-and-shoot opportunities, often off completely open shots like this one:

There are a dozen more just like that.

The Spurs sold out on Nikola Jokic, which was a smart strategy, but their rotation personnel aren’t good enough to consistently deter Denver, which is how the Nuggets still almost won the game despite shooting 42% from the field and 6-of-28 from 3.

Meanwhile, according to Second Spectrum data provided to The Action Network, the Spurs’ effective field goal percentage was 6.3% higher than expected given their shot quality. San Antonio took a lot of bad shots and won, Denver took a lot of good shots and lost. That won’t hold in Game 2, especially after Denver’s young guys settle in after the nerves subside.

If the Nuggets lose Game 2, this series is a wrap. But there’s reason to think things stabilize and a pedestrian Spurs defense slips as their reliance on contested mid-range jumpers starts to hurt them. Matt Moore

Barkley: How I’m Betting the Over/Under

Tell me: Who you can count on for Denver in any playoff game?

We have no idea, and that’s what makes this series so interesting.

Jokic isn’t a dominant offensive player in the traditional sense — he controls the game with vision and passing as much as scoring or shot-selection. And after him … Jamal Murray? We have no idea what he is in the playoffs. Gary Harris? Same.

Denver is the 2-seed, but one of the reasons why I found this series so appealing in the pricing is that there really is not a significant gap in raw metrics between the teams. And the Spurs — as they do in nearly all match-ups — have a coaching advantage.

Will there be Denver adjustments, and if so, what will they be? Or, as Matt is eluding too, is this a case of running the same game plan back because the shot quality was actually so good?

If you’re playing some kind of a “bounce back” angle, keep in mind that the number closed Denver -5.5 at Pinnacle in Game 1, and is now sitting Denver -7 in Game 2. So the Nuggets are already getting a 1.5-point bump in the market despite a series-opening loss. To me, there is no value in that angle at all (and it’s questionable whether it even exists anyway).

With the total dropping a couple points from Game 1 (210.5), I do like the over even though I expect the Nuggets’ offense to shoot better and have ANY FASTBREAK POINTS AT ALL. (They had zero in Game 1.)

The first matchup was entirely played at the Spurs’ tempo, and I expect Game 2 to be different from at least that standpoint. There simply have to be more easy baskets and made 3s.

There’s nowhere to go but up, and I’m on the over at 208. Ken Barkley


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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