The first round of the 2020 NBA playoffs brings us a pair of highly-anticipated Game 7 matchups. The Rockets and Thunder will duke it out on Wednesday night, but the Jazz and Nuggets will first take center stage on Tuesday.
This has been a back-and-forth series all the way, highlighted by the one-on-one battle between Denver’s Jamal Murray and Utah’s Donovan Mitchell. The Jazz took a commanding 3-1 series lead early on, with an apparent lack of effort plaguing the Nuggets at the beginning of the series. Denver has kicked things back into gear over the past couple of games, though, thanks in large part to Murray’s heroics.
BetOnline is offering a number of different ways to bet on Game 7. The Jazz are currently 1-point favorites, with both teams coming in at -110 to win outright on the moneyline. The game also has a 217 over/under. You can even bet on the total number of points Murray and/or Mitchell will score in this one. Let’s break it all down ahead of Tuesday’s do-or-die Game 7 from the bubble in Orlando.
Can Utah Stop Murray?
Jamal Murray has been almost completely unstoppable in this series, and it will be interesting to see what kinds of tactical adjustments Quin Snyder makes ahead of Game 7. Murray’s exploits have almost single-handedly saved Denver’s season, and you know the Nuggets will be relying heavily on him again tonight.
While Murray has been dominant, BetOnline still doesn’t think it’s particularly likely that the star guard will top 40 points in Game 7:
Jamal Murray To Score
32 or more points (-103)
40 or more points (+218)
46 or more points (+655)
Murray has always been able to score, but he averaged just 18.5 points per game during the regular season. Denver’s offense typically uses Nikola Jokic as its playmaking hub, which left Murray with less responsibility. He’s taken the reins in this series, though Murray is averaging 34 points per game through the first six games against Utah, which is extra impressive when you consider he scored just 26 points combined in Games 2 and 3.
Murray has scored 50, 42, and 50 points in each of the last three games. He has shot better than 56 percent from the field and 54.4 percent from three-point territory. While the Kentucky product is a quality shooter, his output thus far has greatly exceeded his career numbers. Murray has shot 43.9 percent from the field and just under 36 percent from long distance for his career.
Utah has been reluctant to put Mike Conley on Murray in this series, but I’d be shocked if Snyder didn’t try it tonight. Conley has been a quality defender historically, and the Jazz clearly need to give Murray a different look.
Murray won’t keep this red-hot shooting going forever, of course. Even the game’s elite marksmen typically shoot around 45 percent from three-point range. Murray is clearly in a zone right now, but it just seems unfathomable to think he keeps it going. The safe bet is to grab the -103 odds on Murray scoring 32 or more. Bettors have a habit of falling prey to recency bias, which can lead to some bad decisions. I doubt Murray cracks 40 again in Game 7.
Will Mitchell Lead Utah Into the Second Round?
Whichever team wins this game will likely fall to the LA Clippers in the next round, but Utah managing to advance would still be impressive considering they’re playing without their second-leading scorer in Bojan Bogdanovic. The Jazz looked terrible for most of the seeding games, but Donovan Mitchell has really stepped up his game since the playoffs began.
Mitchell has been overshadowed by Murray over the past couple of games, but for the series, the former first-round pick is averaging a tidy 38.7 points per game on 54.5 percent shooting from the field. Mitchell has also been blazing from deep, as he’s knocked down 55.9 percent of his triples. Mitchell was Utah’s leading scorer during the regular season (24 points per game), but nobody saw this incredible run coming.
You can also bet on how many points Mitchell will account for in Game 7:
Donovan Mitchell To Score
32 or more points (-108)
40 or more points (+175)
48 or more points (+655)
The Jazz aren’t a particularly good offensive team, which means Mitchell shoulders quite the heavy load. He has been more than up to the task so far in this series, but his exploits haven’t been enough to help the Jazz close this series out. He has scored at least 30 points in all but one game so far against the Nuggets, and, like Murray, he has already cracked 50 points twice.
Murray has a better track record as a scorer than Murray does, and he has a clearer path to more scoring chances, as well. While Murray has to share the ball with Nikola Jokic, there isn’t such a good secondary option on the Jazz’ roster. Conley is probably the next-best choice, but this offense revolves entirely around Mitchell.
If you want to bet on one of these guys topping 40 tonight, make it Mitchell. The +175 odds on the former Louisville star scoring at least 40 points in Game 7 are very appealing.
Who Wins Game 7?
I thought the Nuggets would win this series easily when it began, but Denver didn’t come out with much intensity, and I didn’t expect Mitchell to completely dismantle their defense. Murray has been equally as impressive, and tonight’s Game 7 should be a fascinating watch.
If Mitchell struggles offensively tonight, I’m not sure who else is going to pick up the offensive slack for the Jazz. Between Jokic and Michael Porter Jr., the Nuggets have better ancillary weapons that can carry the offense if Murray’s hot streak comes crashing to a halt.
This should be a closely-contested game, but I like the value you can get in the Nuggets to win outright on the moneyline. There’s obviously no sense in betting on Denver to cover a 1-point spread, to just take them to win the game straight-up on the moneyline.
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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