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Nuggets vs. Warriors Game 5 Preview: Can Denver Hang on in Elimination Game?

Nuggets vs. Warriors Game 5 Preview: Can Denver Hang on in Elimination Game? article feature image
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AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic (15) of the Denver Nuggets.

  • The Nuggets avoided the sweep, but can they extend the series against the Warriors even further?
  • Golden State looks to close things out on its home floor Wednesday night.
  • Matt Moore previews how to bet Wednesday's NBA Playoff matchup below.

Nuggets vs. Warriors Odds

Nuggets Odds +8.5
Warriors Odds -8.5
Over/Under 225.5 (-110/-110)
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV TNT
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Nuggets got their one win. They staved off the sweep for the presumptive two-time MVP Nikola Jokic. But the Warriors have been the better team all series and even had a chance to win Game 4. Back in the Bay, the Warriors will close this out, right?

Well, they better. You don’t want to head back to Denver with the Nuggets having won two in a row. Ask the Sixers how that feels.

More importantly, can the Warriors cover a double-digit spread in a closeout spot? Let’s bet Warriors-Nuggets.

Do the Nuggets Have Another Punch?

Denver figured some things out in Games 2 and 3. There’s a shock factor when you play the Warriors to start a series at playoff speed. The cuts, the movement, the complicated matrix of decision-making it’s overwhelming.

But as the series goes on, you get more used to it. The Nuggets played more at the level in pick-and-rolls to get the ball out of Stephen Curry’s hands and then did a better job of managing switches after to stay in front.

Their late-game switches of Nikola Jokic in isolation on Curry were coverage breakdowns and while breakdowns will happen more frequently in the Bay with the noise, it likely won’t be those specific breakdowns.

Offensively, Nikola Jokic has figured some things out against Draymond Green. In the first two games of the series. Jokic scored just 11 points on 23 direct usage matchups vs. Green. In Games 3 and 4, that figure jumped to 34 points on 27 usage matchups, with Jokic holding a 75% eFG.

Green will likely respond with a better performance in the closeout spot, but between the defensive adjustments the Nuggets have made in playing more aggressively at the level and how Jokic has gotten his jumper going, Denver’s in a better position to hang than they were early in the series.


Will the Warriors Tweak Their Impressive Lineup?

The formula here isn’t too complicated. The Warriors are +63 in this series with Green on the floor, +48 with Curry on-court. In the last two games where Denver played much better, the Warriors were still +22 with Green on the floor.

But they were -2 with Curry on-court, which is interesting.

This isn’t really tied to anything; Curry missed four free throws last game as a 91% career shooter. Those alone would get him into the positive.

Honestly, a large part of this has also been Curry coming off the bench. He’s been on-court more for the surprising bench runs from Denver at home. DeMarcus Cousins has been great, Bones Hyland has been sensational.

But role players play worse on the road, and Curry is likely to start in Game 5, making the starting unit even more dangerous.

But it should be noted, the “Death Poole” lineup with Curry, Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, and Green at center was actually a -3 in Denver. They found ways to combat that, even if some of it was shooting variance.

Nuggets-Warriors Pick

Two key trends for you: Home favorites in Game 5 up 3-1 are 55-12-0, 82.1% straight up. But they are just 31-33-3, 48.4% ATS. We saw this trend continue Tuesday night with the Hawks covering, though Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry were both out.

Second, Steve Kerr’s Warriors are 6-2 straight up at home when leading 3-1, yes, including the infamous 2016 collapse. But they are also just 2-6 ATS in those games. There’s a market inflation for the Warriors, a market inflation for teams that are up 3-1 with the idea that one team has run over the other.

The Warriors absolutely ran over the Nuggets the first two games of the series in Chase Center and could very well do so again. But the trends say that the Nuggets have figured out a way to hang with Golden State, and that the market is somewhat inflated in this spot.

One more trend: teams up 3-1 in Game 5 carrying 60% of the money or better in our BetLabs system since 2003 are 5-10 ATS. Again, there’s just a trend of market inflation.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Warriors keep taking money and the line grows. I like the Nuggets to hang within the number (but not win outright) at anything above +8, but would wait to see if you can get a +9.5 or +10 in the market.

For props, Jeff Green points + rebounds + assists under has been easy stuff so far. Green has 27 PRA in this series total, across the four games. It’s just not a series for him. If books post a PRA prop on him, take the under.

Pick: Nuggets +9 (good to +8.5)

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