The Nuggets and Spurs have alternated wins and losses over the first 4 games of their series, with the Nuggets picking up a huge 117-103 win in Game 4 to send the series back to Denver all tied up. This series hasn’t made a ton of headlines so far, but it’s safe to say it’s easily been the closest of the 8 first-round series to this point.
The Spurs were a popular betting pick as an underdog before the series began, though they’re going to have to win at least one game in the Mile High City in order to advance to the next round. The winner of this series is likely to face the Portland Trail Blazers, who own a 3-1 series lead over the Thunder with the ability to close things out tonight.
So, the Nuggets and Spurs will tip off in Denver tonight in a crucial Game 5. Whichever team winds up winning tonight will be favored to go on to win the series, so it’s obviously a massive game.
The following odds are courtesy of our live odds feed:
2019 ATS Home
2019 ATS Away
2019 O/U Home
2019 O/U Away
DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge are the stars on the Spurs’ roster, but it was Derrick White that stole the show in Game 3. The former late-first-round draft choice out of Colorado was completely unstoppable that evening, as he finished with 36 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in 33 excellent minutes of action.
Young players tend to be inconsistent, and we saw White struggle considerably in his next outing. The second-year guard was held to just 8 points on 3-for-8 shooting in 28 minutes in Denver’s bounce-back victory.
The Spurs lost Game 4 at the 3-point line. San Antonio converted on just 5 of their 17 looks from beyond the 3-point line, while the Nuggets shot a blistering 15-for-31 from deep. That’s a plus-30 differential for Denver from long distance, and that certainly went a long way toward deciding the outcome.
San Antonio isn’t a big 3-point shooting team to begin with. Aldridge and DeRozan do most of their damage from inside the arc. The Spurs have made just 24 of 68 tries from 3-point range in these playoffs, which means they have made and attempted the fewest by a pretty wide margin. Philadelphia’s 101 attempts from deep is the second-fewest of any team thus far.
Jokic’s Time to Shine
Nikola Jokic won’t win MVP this season, but he’ll garner some votes. I’m not sure why there isn’t more wind behind the “Jokic for MVP” sails, but the big man just put together one of the more dominant seasons we’ve seen from a center in quite some time. The 24-year-old averaged 20.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and, most impressively, 7.3 assists per game.
He hasn’t garnered many headlines in these playoffs, but he’s arguably been even better since this series started. Jokic is going for 20.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and over 9 assists per game, which is astounding. Russell Westbrook gets a ton of attention for averaging a triple-double, yet here’s a center coming to within an assist of doing so.
Jokic was essentially a no-show in Game 1, but he has bounced back in a big way since. The Spurs don’t really have an answer for him, so there’s no real reason to believe the Nuggets shouldn’t keep running everything through their All-Star.
This series has been hard to peg from the jump. I was of the opinion originally that Denver would get through into the next round, but San Antonio has been pretty impressive thus far. Equally impressive has been Denver’s ability to bounce back after suffering pretty massive setbacks in Games 1 and 3.
Vegas likes the Nuggets at home tonight, which makes plenty of sense. Denver has a stellar record of 35-8 at Pepsi Center this season, and playing at altitude is always a tough adjustment for visiting teams. Still, the Spurs looked no worse for the wear in either of the previous 2 games at this venue in the series, and they would have won them both if not for a Jamal Murray surge in the fourth quarter of Game 2 that eventually evened the series.
This certainly isn’t a bet I would be going all-in on, but it’s hard not to like the Spurs as underdogs in this spot. They have been unfazed by the daunting task of playing in Denver previously, and there’s something to be said about playoff experience. Gregg Popovich has coached hundreds of playoff games and won several titles, while Denver’s Mike Malone is about to coach his fifth career postseason game.
This game should be a close one, as none of the 4 to this point have really been laughers. I really like the price on the Spurs at +145 on the moneyline. This matchup has felt like a toss-up so far, so why not take a punt bet on the team at plus-odds? We know the Spurs have been down this road before, while all of the pressure will be on Denver to hold serve on their home floor.
Bet on the Spurs to win Game 5 outright on Tuesday night.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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