Warriors vs. Nuggets Odds
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Warriors are reeling — losing four in a row and eight of 10 after a 41-13 start. Suddenly this Monday night matchup might very well be a first-round playoff series preview, with Golden State falling to the 3-seed and Denver right in the mix for the 6-seed.
This particular game will not be anything resembling a potential playoff series, though. This is a makeup game rescheduled from earlier in the season when Denver didn’t have eight players available.
It’s clear that Steve Kerr and Golden State are not happy about the schedule. The Warriors will not send Steph Curry, Klay Thompson or Andrew Wiggins to Denver, leaving this reeling team desperately shorthanded in a game they’re clearly punting.
On the other hand, the Nuggets are on the second night of a back-to-back themselves, so it’s fair to say this may not be the game NBA TV envisioned.
Still, shorthanded teams often mean extra edges and creative ways to play, so how can we bet the wonky matchup in our favor?
Warriors Are Shorthanded To Say the Least
Even after this terrible stretch, the Warriors still rank top-three in the NBA in 3-point attempts, assists, steals, defensive rebounding, defensive effective field goal percentage and defensive rating. After all, this team is still one win away from the second-best record in the league.
But those season-long metrics won’t tell us much about this particular roster on Monday.
Remember, it’s not just Steph, Klay and Wiggins that are out. Draymond is still missing. Andre Iguodala remains sidelined. James Wiseman isn’t ready yet. Gary Payton II is a question mark with a knee injury.
So who will play for the Warriors? Kevon Looney should start at center, and Jordan Poole will surely make his 36th start and take on a huge usage role. Veterans Otto Porter Jr. and Damion Lee should see significant minutes, and rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody will probably play a bunch too.
We obviously don’t know what this exact team will look like, but we do have five Warriors games this season that had both Steph and Draymond missing.
Let’s take a look at those five and see what we can learn:
- 105-102 win vs/ Pistons: Jordan Poole scored 32 on 4-of-8 3s, Wiggins had 27, Juan Toscano-Anderson had nine assists in 37 minutes
- 100-119 loss vs. Raptors: no Poole or Wiggins, Kuminga led team with 26, Chris Chiozza had seven assists
- 96-101 loss vs. Pelicans: Poole scored 11 on 3-of-15 nightmare (2-of-9 3s), Wiggins had 21, Kuminga got 13 in 20 bench minutes
- 99-119 loss vs. Wolves: Poole had 20 on 3-of-7 3s, Wiggins and Klay both played and scored 25 combined, Kuminga added 19 off the bench
- 124-120 win vs. Spurs: Wiggins sat, Poole scored 31 with 4-of-13 3s, Moody and Lee had 20 each, Kuminga had 19 more off the bench
It’s only five games, but some clear patterns started to emerge:
- The Warriors hung tough against three non-playoff teams, but got blown out by the two quality teams they played. Denver will be the best opponent this shorthanded team has faced, so that doesn’t bode well for Golden State.
- It’s Poole SZN. Poole is averaging 23.5 points on big volume in these games, including 9.3 3-point attempts. The Spurs and Pistons games above were Poole’s two highest field goal attempts of the season.
- Kuminga takes on a massive role. Three of his five biggest scoring games have come in these shorthanded games, with 19-plus points in each.
- The Warriors hammer the offensive glass, especially with Looney. He had 12, 12, nine and 12 rebounds in the four games he played, including 17 offensive boards. The Warriors need extra possessions with their stars missing, and Looney’s offensive boards are a good way to do it.
It’s clear that this game will be on the kids, and that probably means big scoring outings from Poole, Kuminga or both. This team still plays with its identity — tenacious defense, attacking the glass and tons of 3s on offense with plenty of ball movement.
We may not know the names as well or what to expect from these youngsters as far as a competitive game, but there’s a ton of extra minutes, usage and shots to go around. That means Warriors prop over might be our best angle.
Will Nuggets Take Advantage?
Of course, you’ll forgive the Nuggets if they’re not exactly feeling terrible for the shorthanded Warriors.
After all, this team has been without star point guard Jamal Murray all season and young Michael Porter Jr. for most of it. Nikola Jokic continues to put up MVP numbers on the nightly, but he has precious little help around him.
Even shorthanded, the Nuggets rank top-10 in the NBA in both offensive and defensive rating. Denver gets more efficient shots than its opponents, an interesting strength-vs-strength matchup against a defense so good.
The Nuggets defense ranks second in the league in 3-point percentage allowed, which could be trouble for the shot-happy Warriors. Denver is also one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the league, negating yet another Golden State strength.
There’s little question Jokic will be the best player on the court in this game, though that would have arguably been true no matter which Warriors traveled to the Rockies.
Jokic was day-to-day heading into Sunday’s game, so there’s always the chance he too could sit on the second night of a back-to-back. That would obviously swing things greatly, muting this offense and moving the line much closer to an even affair.
But since we’re leaning toward playing Warriors props, that potential question mark shouldn’t be an issue.
Denver usually has the best player on the court the way Jokic is playing this season, but the Nuggets could have the second and even third best players too.
That would presumably be Aaron Gordon and Will Barton in either order, as they’re probably more dependable than any of these young Warriors for now.
There’s no doubt about it — this is a serious talent mismatch in Denver’s favor, even with Murray and Porter out.
The Nuggets have won seven of eight and 14 of 19, so we should certainly expect a Denver victory. How it gets there is another story.
There’s often a letdown factor when the opponent’s stars are out, so I’ll pass on a big Denver spread and maybe consider a live bet if we get anything close to even odds on the moneyline. I’ll then bank on Jokic and his teammates to secure a win late.
Instead, this feels like a great spot to play some player props with any number of Warriors set to take on a much bigger role than usual.
Even if Golden State loses big, the team is shorthanded, so these young players will pretty much have to take on big minutes and usage either way. That means I’ll be willing to play a few of these props and not worry about a wash out.
There are no prop lines yet, but here are a few lines I’ll be looking at:
- Poole points and 3s overs: I expect Poole to get up near double-digit 3s and score at least in the 20s. The volume will be there, so we just have to hope the shots fall. If he goes over a posted line, he could go way over. He’s averaging 22.8 points per game in games with 15-plus FGA, with 11 games at 20-plus and four over 30. I’ll look to play an alternate over at 25- or 30-plus points and/or at least four 3s.
- Kuminga points overs: Kuminga scored 19-plus in three of those shorthanded games, and he’s getting more comfortable as the season progresses. He plays like a role player with all the stars, but has been given a much longer leash in these games. I expect 15-to-20 points and will look to play his over, even off the bench.
- Looney rebounds overs: Looney is averaging 11.3 rebounds a night in these shorthanded games, and hammers the offensive glass. I expect at least nine boards, so I’ll look for a line of 8.5 or lower and would consider an alternate over like 10-plus boards or a double-double. Don’t go crazy, though. Looney has struggled against Denver this season with just 7.0 boards per game and foul trouble.
- Someone’s assist over…?: The Warriors rank near the top of the NBA in assists, but the question is who will get them. Poole has not been a huge assist man, even in these shorthanded games. Don’t be afraid to play an over for Chiozza or even Toscano-Anderson if you get a decent line and like the way the starting lineup looks.
Shorthanded teams mean extra usage to go around, so it’s time to get those Poole and Kuminga overs and have a little Monday night fun on NBA TV.
Pick: Poole and Kuminga points overs and alternate overs