The Denver Nuggets have done well to put a good amount of space between themselves in fourth place in the Western Conference, and the fifth-place Los Angeles Lakers, who have understandably slid quite a bit since LeBron James went down a few weeks ago. James is expected back for the Lakers presently, however, so the Nuggets need to keep this pace up and continue to stack wins down the stretch.
Free Picks: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets
Nuggets Visit Clippers In Clash Of Top Teams In The West (Season Betting Record: 89-96)
That starts with Saturday night when they take on the Lakers’ crosstown rivals at the Staples Center, the Los Angeles Clippers. The Nuggets enter this matchup on a surprising run of success, having gone 8-1 straight up since star point guard Jamal Murray went down with a torn ACL nearly three weeks ago.
Murray, obviously, has been lost for the rest of this season and likely a chunk of next season, but the Nuggets haven’t allowed his loss to phase them. Even when the two players being asked to do the most in the wake of the Blue Arrow’s injury, guards Monte Morris and Will Barton, both went down with hamstring injuries, Nikola Jokic and the rest of the gang didn’t even flinch.
Denver has gone 6-1 SU since Morris went down and a perfect 4-0 SU since they lost Will the Thrill. Jokic has continued his bid to become just the second ever European-born NBA MVP (Dirk Nowitzki) as he has carried the Nuggets through a treacherous Western Conference schedule without missing a single game all season. Not to mention the fact that he’s leading the charge for this current run of triumphs without his top three guards.
The Joker has been putting up 26.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 7.1 dimes on a 59/39/86 shooting line since Murray went down, numbers which are standard for Jokic during his MVP run during this campaign. The Serbian big man is leading the charge, but it’s second-year man Michael Porter Jr. who has made the biggest jump to replace the efficient scoring of Murray.
MPJ has been putting up 25.7 points and 4.1 triples per game on ridiculously efficient shooting percentages of 57 percent from the field and 51 percent from downtown since his teammate’s injury, which has meant that the team has barely even missed Murray’s scoring, if at all.
Their opponents on Saturday night are expecting to have Kawhi Leonard back from an extended absence, but his availability remains very murky leading into gameday. Klaw or not though, the Clippers have struggled against the Nuggets recently, dropping four of the past five meetings against the spread as well as the last four straight matchups in L.A. ATS.
Denver has also been one of the best travelling teams going 18-11 on the road this year, a mark that only the Phoenix Suns have eclipsed during this campaign. They’ve also been great going from a homestand to the road, putting up an 8-4 SU record in road games following a home contest this year.
Another good omen for the Nuggets heading into this tilt with the Clippers is the fact that Jokic scored just 19 points in the team’s last outing against the Toronto Raptors. Jokic has failed to reach the 20 points plateau in 16 other games this season and in the contests following those other subpar Joker scoring displays, the team has gone a sparkling 12-4 SU.
The Nuggets are also entering this matchup on a four-game winning streak, while the Clippers have lost two straight and dropped four of the past five ATS. We don’t just like Denver to cover, we like them to straight up win the game as our top pick for this clash. We’re getting lovely +130 NBA odds for the Nuggets moneyline as well, which gives our NBA pick a ton of value to boot.
- Denver is 8-4 SU in road contests following a home game this season
- Denver is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings
- Los Angeles is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games
- Denver is 18-11 SU on the road this season, 2nd in the NBA
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The Los Angeles Clippers will renew hostilities with the Dallas Mavericks, who they dispatched in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
The Denver Nuggets and the league’s presumptive NBA MVP will look to get off to a strong start against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1.
The Golden State Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies in the final play-in game, which will determine the Western Conference’s eighth seed.
The Washington Wizards will host the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night with the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference on the line.
Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve.