Nuggets vs. Clippers Game 7 Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions (Tuesday, Sept. 15)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Kawhi Leonard and Nikola Jokic.
- The Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers tip off at 9:00 p.m. ET for the epic Game 7 conclusion of their NBA Western Conference Playoffs second round series.
- Brandon Anderson breaks Game 7 betting odds from all angles to determine which side offers more value on Tuesday night.
- Read on for his full betting guide with updated odds and his picks for tonight's much-anticipated series finale.
Nuggets vs. Clippers Game 7 Odds
|Nuggets Odds||+7.5 [BET NOW]|
|Clippers Odds||-7.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+265/-335 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||208.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET|
Midway through the third quarter of Game 6, all was going to plan for the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers were up 73-55 on the Denver Nuggets and looked to be cruising toward a date with the Lakers in their first-ever Western Conference Finals while most of us — if we’re being honest — had relegated the game to second screen and were already watching football.
Then, without any warning, the Nuggets uncorked a 17-0 run and came all the way back to steal a game they ended up winning with ease. Suddenly, we’re staring at a conference semifinal Game 7, with everything on the line for both teams and the Lakers waiting in the wings. But can Denver complete a second straight 3-1 comeback against a heavily favored LA team and advance?
You know that movie 28 Days Later? Now 28 days after the start of the NBA playoffs, the Nuggets have played a playoff game every two days for four straight weeks. Five of those were elimination games. They are doing this all short a regular-season starter in Will Barton and have also survived multiple injuries to rising star Jamal Murray, who played through a sore groin in Game 6. That said, you know Murray will give whatever he can in this one.
The difference here is that Nikola Jokic is a bona fide playoff stud at this point. Jokic is averaging 25.6 points, 11.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game for his entire playoff career, shooting 51 percent from the field, including a ridiculous 43 from behind the arc. In three Game 7s over the last two postseasons, he’s averaging 28 points, 14 boards and 5 dimes on over 41 minutes per game. He’s playing like the superstar he is.
While Murray was Denver’s top scorer in the first round, he’s fallen off dramatically. After totaling 50, 42, and 50 points in three consecutive playoff games, Murray has fallen off to 19 PPG on only 40 percent shooting from the field since. He’s still making 39 percent of his 3-pointers, but his attempts are way down to 5.9 per game and just 4.0 over the last three. He’s clearly exhausted and not healthy at this point.
You probably think Denver’s X-factor is Michael Porter Jr., but Gary Harris has been a bellwether for success. In Denver’s three wins this series, Harris is averaging 12 PPG with 54 percent on threes; in three losses, just 8.3 PPG and 33 percent. Harris is Denver’s best two-way player, and his defense is absolutely needed out there. Expect Jokic, Murray and Harris to grab every minute possible while Denver plays the hot hand between MPJ, Paul Millsap, and Jerami Grant.
The Nuggets may have taken this to Game 7, but make no mistake about it. They know the same thing we know: that the Clippers are better. There’s still very little margin for error in this spot. Denver has played harder, been more prepared and coached and adjusted better. But the team barely got here.
Los Angeles Clippers
The pressure is all on the Clippers in Game 7. The Nuggets were left for dead halfway through the first round while there opponent has never even played in a Conference Finals as a franchise. The other Los Angeles team is now 0-7 in potential WCF clinchers, and that will obviously need to change in order to set up a matchup with the rival Lakers. Since 2013, the franchise has lost playoff series they led 2-0, 1-0, 3-1, 2-0, and 2-1.
And while none of those blown leads involved this particular team, this year’s Clippers now have seven blown leads of 15 or more points, including doing so in each of the last two games. This franchise traded everything they had to bring in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. To blow this lead and miss the Conference Finals at this point would be a devastating disappointment, and they all know it. The longer this game stays close, the more the pressure will build on LA.
Of course, these Clippers do have Leonard. He might be the best basketball player in the world right now, and that’s a pretty nice trump card to have in a Game 7. Kawhi is 2-2 lifetime in Game 7s but did pretty well in his Eastern Conference Semis Game 7 last year (bounce-bounce-bounce-bounce… game) against the Philadelphia 76ers as a member of the Toronto Raptors. Of course the Raptors went on to win their first NBA title. Meanwhile, George is 1-2 in Game 7s.
The Clippers’ bellwether this series has been Marcus Morris, who is scoring 13.7 PPG in wins and shooting 71 percent, including 58 on threes. He drops to 9.7 PPG and 33 in losses. You can make a pretty good argument that Morris, not PG, has been LA’s second-best player these playoffs.
Outside of those three, LA’s rotation is in shambles. Montrezl Harrell is an absolute disaster right now. He’s getting hunted on defense and will likely be minimized greatly in Game 7. He’s unplayable right now with Jokic on the court. Lou Williams hasn’t been quite as bad, but he hasn’t been good. Ivica Zubac hasn’t been much more successful than Harrell the last couple games either, and Patrick Beverley has been okay but can’t stay out of foul trouble.
The Clippers are going to need to play Kawhi, PG and Morris 40 minutes each, then get what they can from Beverley and Zubac. But if those two role players are limited to 20 or 25 minutes, this game may be determined by who they play in the other minutes and how badly they lose those minutes. LA has leaned more on JaMychal Green of late. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him out there a lot.
The Clippers have a serious problem on their hands the way Harrell and Williams have been marginalized, but they need to fix that issue another day. If they’re not scoring and getting hunted in Game 7, head coach Doc Rivers needs to sit them down and go to the guys that can play defense.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Nothing seems out of bounds in this Game 7. In a normal year, the home Staples Center crowd might push the Clippers to a big lead and let LA finish the job from there, but even big leads haven’t saved the Clippers this series. The longer this stays close, the more their butts will be clenched down the stretch. It’s not unprecedented for a team with this much pressure to fold, even if they’re clearly the more talented team.
Could the Clippers choke? Could LA run out to another big lead and hold on this time? Close game? Blowout? It’s all in play. Anything is possible.
I’m honestly not sure any side of this is particularly safe. I don’t trust the Clippers to hold a lead enough to cover, and the moneyline price isn’t worth it. I don’t want to bet the Nuggets to cover and not win. At +270, Denver’s ML implies a 27 percent chance of winning. That feels low, based on what we’ve seen.
But the way this series is going, I’d rather wait and live bet this game. This series has been all about runs from both sides. Runs mean quickly changing odds, and they mean no lead is safe. If one team pulls ahead by double digits in the first half, this series isn’t over by any stretch. I’ll jump on either team’s juicy ML as a big first-half underdog.
For now, I’m going back to the most reliable Game 7 well: the under. The under is 5-0-1 this series, and it’s 3-0 in Game 7s so far these playoffs. The one thing that feels implausible here is a shootout, as it wouldn’t be shocking to see one of these teams simply run out of gas in the tank.
Pick: Take the under to 205.5 as needed and enjoy a wild, unpredictable Game 7.