Nuggets vs. Clippers Odds, Picks & Betting Predictions: How We’re Betting Friday’s Western Conference Clash
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets.
- The update betting odds for Friday's Nuggets vs. Clippers game list Kawhi Leonard and LA as two possession favorites (spread: -6.5) with the over/under set at 220.
- The spread for this game rose from -5.5 this morning to -6.5 and all the stars appear to be set to play for the Clippers at Staples Center.
- Get our NBA crew's picks for Nuggets vs. Clippers below.
The Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers are currently second and third respectively in the Western conference standings and are jockeying for positioning. There is currently just one game separating the third-place Clippers and the Nuggets entering Friday’s matchup, with the LA Lakers comfortably in first.
The Nuggets are one of the top road teams in the West, but can they take down the Clips at Staples Center? Our NBA experts preview how they are betting the matchup including their favorite bets below.
Nuggets at Clippers Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions
- Spread: Clippers -6.5
- Over/Under: 220
- Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: ESPN
Betting Trend to Know
The Clippers have had an up-and-down season thus far, and face the Nuggets who are currently the second-best team in the Western conference. Against West teams with a win percentage above .600, the Clippers are just 5-6 against the spread this season.
Rob Perez: Too Much Star Power
This is the biggest game of the year for the Clippers after planting their flag on the Lakers and the city of Los Angeles on Christmas Day. The No. 2-seed could very well be on the line tonight at Staples Center as the Nuggets and Clips are only separated by one game in the standings (as noted above), with the Nuggets currently in the two slot and the Clippers in the three.
If these two teams ultimately do fall in these seeds, they are very likely headed for a second-round matchup where home court will be essential.
It’s not essential because Staples Center turns into Cameron Indoor Stadium when the Clippers play — it’s actually far from it — but under no circumstances do they want to have to go a mile high to Denver for a Game 7.
Players have complained about traveling to Denver in the past; the altitude fatigues players at the end of long west coast road trips, and you can guarantee that sentiment reigns true for any team having to play them in a playoff series.
With all of this said, this will be one of the very few times that you see the War Machine Los Angeles Clippers. They don’t get up for regular season games very often. As a matter of fact they just completed their first game with everyone on the roster active, but this is absolutely one of those nights. They know what’s at stake.
They are going to jump that Murray/Jokic pick and roll like their lives depend on it and make Gary Harris, Paul Millsap or somebody else beat them.
There is no way I’m ever believing in this after last year’s playoffs. The Nuggets have no shame in showing their hand in regard to what they’re going to run, and when the Clippers have an arsenal of the league’s best defenders, it is just going to be impossible for Denver to score down the stretch when the game slows to a half court pace.
In the half court, you go to your stars to close the game. The Clippers’ stars are just too good, they’ve proved it all season, and they’re going to prove it tonight with a statement win in which they pull away late.
THE PICK: Clippers -6.5
Matt Moore: I’ll Take the Points
Six? Six full points? It feels like I’m going to wind up fretting free throws, but I have to go Denver here.
In the last matchup between the two teams, Paul George didn’t play. The Nuggets were also one-point favorites in the last game in Denver, without Paul Millsap, and won by 10. A move to Staples Center and George with Millsap also back is worth 7 points?
Denver is 4-3 vs. teams that are top 10 in both offense and defense this season, and +5.6 in ATS +/-, good for second-best mark in the league.
Tactically, the idea is Denver can’t guard the Clippers’ perimeter superstars. And that might be true, in so far as both PG and Kawhi Leonard are tough shot makers. But defense is systemic. The Nuggets will put two on-ball in every pick and roll, trying to force the ball out of Leonard’s hands. In ISO situations, you have to live and die with it, but even a high conversion rate isn’t super high on those shots.
Meanwhile, Ivica Zubac won the matchup with Nikola Jokic last time while Jokic toasted the rest fo the team, and I don’t have faith in that happening again. Jokic is playing the best basketball of his career and I don’t trust Zubac to be able to handle a fully-engaged Jokic.
The Clippers give up 111 points per 100 possessions to teams that are top ten in both offense and defense, Denver is sixth in offense, 10th in defense.
The sharp money is coming in on the Clippers, which makes me nervous. But I like the matchup and the number for Denver.
PICK: Nuggets +6 (spread has since moved to +6.5)
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.