Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets Odds
|Trail Blazers Odds||+9|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Denver Nuggets begin a six-game home stand on Thursday night against the division rival Portland Trail Blazers.
Neither team has been able to gain much of an edge on their opponents as of late, with the largest reason being that both Denver and Portland are facing a plethora of injuries. As a result, the Nuggets are 5-5 in their last 10 games, and the Blazers are 4-6 overall in their last 10, although they have won their last two games against the Nets and Kings.
The Blazers come into this game with more momentum than Denver, but the injuries they are facing appear to be more significant. Will they be able to overcome those absences and extend their win streak to three games, or will we see Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets find their rhythm again on their home court?
Blazers Received Bad Injury News
The Blazers got some rough news on Thursday when they announced that Damian Lillard has elected to get surgery on a persistent abdomen injury and will miss the next 6-8 weeks. Lillard joins several of his teammates on the injury report, including C.J. McCollum, Norman Powell, Anfernee Simons, Larry Nance and Cody Zeller.
That many injuries to players high up in the rotation would be bad news for just about every team in the NBA, but Portland has played some good basketball without its stars.
Lillard has not played since December 31st, and in that span of time Portland has played five games. In those games, the Blazers have posted an Offensive Rating of 117.3, a number that is significantly higher than their 110.4 rating for the season.
Their problems arise on the defensive end of the floor, where they have given up an average of 111.2 points per game in the new year and have seen their Defensive Rating jump to 115.8 when compared to their season rating of 114.5. They’ve also allowed their opponents to shoot 47% from the floor and 37.5% from three, further displaying their vulnerability on defense.
Nuggets Winning With Defense
There are many players listed on the injury report for Denver coming into this matchup. However, most of the guys have been there for a majority of the season, and the Nuggets are expecting to get a few guys back for this game.
Michael Porter Jr. and P.J. Dozier are both out for the season, and Jamal Murray is still sidelined while recovering from ACL surgery. Luckily, Will Barton is expected to be back in the mix, as well as Markus Howard, so Jokic will have some more reinforcements on his side for this one.
Barton being back in the lineup will likely help a struggling Denver offense, one that has an Offensive Rating of 107.5 — 22nd in NBA — since the new year began. In that same span, Denver has shot just over 47% from the floor, but as a team the Nuggets are shooting just 28.6% from behind the arc, which has played a major role in their struggles on that end of the floor.
However, this squad has not skipped a beat defensively, holding opponents to 103.7 points per game in the last six. The Nuggets have done a tremendous job at locking down the paint, allowing the ninth-fewest points in the paint in those same six games, and holding their opponents to just 43% from the floor.
The offense hasn’t quite been there consistently enough, but the Nuggets have made up for it with their play on defense and that should bode well for them in this one.
Trail Blazers-Nuggets Pick
Regardless of who has been on the floor, Portland has struggled to stop many teams from scoring. Factor in the injuries to Lillard, McCollum, Powell and Simons — four guys that account for an average of 77 points per game — and the Blazers could be in for some trouble.
Their offensive numbers recently have been the highest they have been all season, even without Lillard and McCollum in the lineup. However, many of those performances involved great games from Powell and Simons, and I think it is unlikely their offensive production will be made up for by their replacements, which are likely to be Dennis Smith Jr. and Tony Snell.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets have played well at home and gets Barton back in the lineup, both of which will play into their favor.
Portland’s decimated backcourt will likely be too much for to overcome, as the Blazers have only won two games on the road this season and are just 3-12 ATS on the road.
I think it is likely we see the Nuggets create some separation and cover the spread.
Pick: Denver Nuggets -9 (-110)