Warriors vs. Nuggets Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Golden State Warriors hold a 2-0 lead in their first round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets after a 20-point win Monday. Despite the presence of the league’s likely MVP, Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets have looked overmatched through the first two games and now the series shifts to Ball Arena in Denver.
We all know the famous postseason cliché: The series doesn’t start until the road team wins a game. This series, however, feels different and could be all but over if the Warriors win Game 3.
Can the Nuggets get off the snide and fight their way back into this series or will the Warriors take another step towards another NBA title?
Let’s analyze both sides and find out!
Warriors Scoring With Historic Efficiency
The Warriors have started slow in each of the first two games of this series, but despite facing a 10-point deficit mid-way through the second quarter of Game 2, the Warriors went on a 24-8 run to take a 57-51 lead at half and never looked back.
As I mentioned in the game guide for Game 1, the five-man lineup ofJordan Poole, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green is the progression of the famed death lineup from the Warriors’ championship seasons.
In 22 minutes, this lineup has a 129.3 Net Rating with a 204.3 Offensive Rating and a Defensive Rating of 75, according to NBA Advanced Stats. It’s a small sample size, but it speaks to how dominant they’ve been and their ability to completely flip a game at will.
Jordan Poole continues to perform like a star as scored 29 points on 62.5% shooting and 5-of-10 from behind the arc along with eight assists and five rebounds.
During the telecast of Game 2, Stan Van Gundy joked that Stephen Curry looked the Sixth Man of the Year as he came off the bench to score 34 points in just 22 minutes of action. With Klay Thompson also adding 21 points on, the Warriors’ offense just has too much firepower offensively for this Nuggets team to slow down.
Along with the offensive firepower, the Warriors remain a top-tier defense capable of completely locking all windows and doors. Green continues to make Jokic work hard for his points holding him to 9-of-28 shooting through two games as his primary defender, per NBA Advanced Stats.
With Green playing Jokic one-on-one they’ve limited Jokic’s ability to hit open teammates and without a solid supporting cast for the Nuggets, the Warriors should have no problem slowing this offense down again as they look to take a 3-0 lead.
Nuggets Have Few Answers on Either End
Jokic had one of the best seasons in NBA history, but none of that matters at this point. Despite putting up eye popping statistics and leading his team to 48 wins without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr, there’s a limit to what any individual star player can do and he’s hitting that wall in this series.
If Jokic is named MVP and lose in Round 1, he’d be the sixth MVP winner to lose in the first round and the third to get swept out of the first round. So how did we get here?
Jokic has had to work for his points more than ever, scoring 25 points 25 shots in Game 1 and 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting in Game 2. Since the Warriors are defending Jokic one-on-one, he has logged just 10 combined assists in the first two games of this series. Passing is one of the strengths of Jokic’s game — he averages 7.9 assists and had 20 games with 10 or more assists this season — so his numbers here are glaring.
The Nuggets just don’t have enough offensively without Murray and Porter. Will Barton is the team’s second leading scorer (18 points per game) but he was shot 5-of-15 in Game 2. This Nuggets team has to match the Warriors point-for-point to compete, but they’re shooting 33.8% from behind the arc in this series.
If the offensive issues weren’t bad enough, the Nuggets are completely drawing dead on the other end of the floor as they’re allowing a 124.5 points per 100 possessions in this series. Unless the Nuggets have an outlier shooting night, or the the Warriors go ice cold on the road, it appears their season is on the brink.
There will be a ton of professional gamblers who will look to play the Denver Nuggets in the first quarter in the first half as they’re down 0-2 in a desperation spot.
Given the impact of home court advantage throughout the NBA Playoffs, one of the most profitable angles has been backing teams down 0-2 in both the first quarter and first half of games.
The logic is simple, no team has overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game playoff series in NBA history and thus the sense of urgency teams feel when down 0-2 means they’re playing harder than the opposing team.
When you add the impact of the home crowd as well as the home cooking from officiating that comes with that, it’s no surprise to see that this is one of the more profitable angles throughout the NBA Playoffs.
We’ve already seen the Toronto Raptors cover the first quarter and first half in Game 3 against the Philadelphia 76ers after going down 0-2 on the road. The Nuggets have covered the opening quarter in each game of this series, so if you wanted to back them in the first quarter, I’d totally understand.
However, I’m just going to go with the better team. The Warriors have put up Offensive Ratings of 129.4 and 134.3 and it till feels like we haven’t seen their best game yet.
Game 3 is one of my favorite games of a playoff series because you often get superior teams at a short price; either sharp money tends to come in on inferior teams playing home games or bookmakers take a position on those same inferior teams.
This is the perfect example of that scenario. We have a Warriors team that looks like a championship contender laying 1.5 to a tired and depleted Nuggets team. Do yourself a favor and lay the points with Curry, Poole, Thompson, Green and Wiggins in what should be another Warriors victory to effectively shut the door on this series.
Pick: Warriors -1.5 (-110)