NBA Betting Odds and Pick: Thunder at Nuggets

by Taylor Smith
on February 26, 2019
5

Minute Read

We have just three games on tap for Tuesday in the NBA, but a couple of them are marquee matchups. The Celtics will visit Toronto to take on the Raptors in a showdown between Eastern Conference powers, while the Nuggets will host the Thunder in a matchup between two of the Western Conference’s premier teams.

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The Nuggets are just three games ahead of the Thunder for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference behind Golden State. This will be the third of four regular season meetings between the Northwest Division rivals, with the Nuggets having emerged victorious in each of the first two. The Nuggets notched a 105-98 win over the Thunder in Oklahoma City back on November 24 before getting a 109-98 result in the Mile High City at OKC’s expense just a few weeks later.

The following odds are courtesy of our live odds feed:

Betting Data Thunder Nuggets
2019 Straight-Up 38-21 41-18
2019 Home 21-8 26-4
2019 Away 17-13 15-14
2019 ATS 33-26-0 32-27-0
2019 ATS Home 16-13-0 21-9-0
2019 ATS Away 17-13-0 11-18-0
2019 O/U 29-28-2 28-30-1
2019 O/U Home 17-11-1 17-13-0
2019 O/U Away 12-17-1 11-17-1

Rolling Thunder

The Thunder have lost two of their last three overall, with the lone win in that stretch being a thrilling 148-147 win over the Jazz at home in double overtime last week. OKC has been led by Paul George and Russell Westbrook all season long. Westbrook is averaging a triple-double for the third consecutive season, while George is enjoying his finest individual campaign to date.

I’ve been harping on George’s status as a legitimate MVP contender for a while now, and he just hasn’t slowed down. PG-13 is averaging a career-best 28.7 points along with 8.1 rebounds per game while contributing his standard top-notch defense on the other end of the floor. He has also drilled 40.3 percent of his looks from beyond the long line, for good measure.

Westbrook’s efficiency has fallen off a cliff this season, but he has perked up a bit lately. Russ has shot 33.3% from 3-point range over his last five games, which is quite an improvement over his dreadful season-long 26.8 percentage from deep. He has hit at least four 3-pointers in each of his last three games, so perhaps his shot is finally starting to come around.

OKC has been playing at the league’s fastest pace for weeks, which helps explain why so many of their games have been high-scoring. The Thunder have been involved in five consecutive games in which both teams have topped the 100-point plateau, and 19 of their last 20 games overall.

Powerhouse Nuggets

The Nuggets were a team many expected to make a leap this season, but not many expected them to rise to the top of the Western Conference after missing the playoffs altogether a season ago. Denver has been roaring all year long despite not attracting a whole lot of national media attention. They’re just 1.5 games back of the Warriors for the top seed in the conference, so home court advantage throughout the playoffs is still a possibility.

Home court advantage for Denver is huge. The Nuggets are 26-4 on their home floor this season. Opposing teams tend to struggle with the rigors of playing at Denver’s mile-high altitude, and it shows. The Nuggets haven’t lost a game at Pepsi Center since the Warriors came to town back on January 15.

While the Thunder are led by two superstars, the Nuggets do it with depth. Sure, Nikola Jokic is a budding superstar in his own right, but the argument can easily be made that Denver has the deepest roster of talent of any team in the NBA. Mike Malone almost has too many options at his disposal now that everybody is healthy.

One player that has really come on as of late is Paul Millsap. Millsap has looked washed up for most of the season, but he’s really perked up in the last three games. Over his last three, the former All-Star is quietly averaging 21 points and 14 rebounds in over 31 minutes per game. If Millsap can get back to the levels we saw during his time in Atlanta, the Nuggets are even more dangerous.

It all starts with Jokic, of course. The big man has already piled up eight triple-doubles on the season, which is unheard of for a center. The 24-year-old is averaging 20.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game while patrolling the paint effectively on defense. There isn’t much he doesn’t do for this team, and he’s the primary reason for the Nuggets’ surge up the standings.

The Pick

The Thunder have had three days off coming into this game, which is obviously advantageous given the aforementioned issues that road teams tend to encounter in Denver. Still, the spread jumped out at me immediately when I first saw the betting odds here.

Oklahoma City is a legitimate contender, and this should be a back-and-forth affair. Still, it’s hard to get past the Nuggets being just 3-point favorites on their home floor. Oklahoma City has enjoyed decent success on the road this year, but few teams march into Denver and leave with a win. I think this game stays competitive, but I would be happy to take the Nuggets to cover the spread here.

Denver’s depth should be able to overmatch OKC’s lack thereof, so I’d be all over betting on the Nuggets against the spread.
Pick: Nuggets -3
-115

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Taylor Smith

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, but he’s willing to take one for the team on that front every now and then.

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