Free NBA Picks: Spurs at Nuggets Odds
by Alan Matthews - 11/4/2013
I fully expected the Denver Nuggets to take a step back this season after losing Andre Iguodala and Coach George Karl in the offseason as well as starting the year without an injured Danilo Gallinari. And it's still early, but right now Denver looks like one of the worst teams in the Western Conference heading into Tuesday's home game with San Antonio. In fact, if the Nuggets should lose Tuesday night (they should) and Thursday against Atlanta, they would match their home losses for all of the 2012-13 regular season.
San Antonio looks typically good, opening the season with wins against Memphis and at the Lakers -- not that the latter means much right now -- before falling at Portland on Saturday night in the second of a back-to-back. That's one thing the Spurs and Nuggets have in common: they both lost to Portland in their last game. Denver did so at home on Friday night.
Spurs at Nuggets Betting Story Lines
New Nuggets coach Brian Shaw appears ready to make a lineup swap. "There will probably be some changes" he said Sunday. Gallinari is still a ways from returning, so it appears that Shaw may return Kenneth Faried to the first five. He would normally be starting but has been working his way back from a hamstring injury. Faried looked back to normal on Friday with 11 points and 11 rebounds against the Blazers. He would move J.J. Hickson to a reserve role.
It's at small forward, Gallinari's position, where Denver really has issues. Wilson Chandler would be starting in his place, but he's also hurt and won't play Tuesday. Anthony Randolph has been starting there, but he's averaging just 3.5 points in 15 minutes per game. Plus, he didn't practice Sunday due to a sprained left ankle and is questionable for this one. Fellow small forwards Jordan Hamilton and Quincy Miller haven't been playing, so Shaw might have to go to a small lineup that includes guards Randy Foye and Nate Robinson.
Five of Denver's top seven scorers are shooting below 40 percent. Denver led the NBA in scoring last season at 106.1 per game but is 23rd right now at 93.0. The Nuggets were counting an awful lot on JaVale McGee to step up this season and help replace some of Iguodala's production, but the talented and unfocused McGee has played just 23 total minutes in the first two games with 10 points. It's a shame because the guy could be unstoppable if he wanted to be.
The Spurs are pretty healthy. Tim Duncan missed Friday's game with a bruised chest -- the first Lakers-Spurs game without Duncan or Kobe Bryant since 1996 -- but returned to the lineup on Saturday against Portland with 24 points and seven rebounds. Coach Gregg Popovich is really watching Duncan's and Manu Ginobili's minutes as both are averaging less than 26 per game, and expect that to continue all season. The only guy over 30 minutes per game is Tony Parker. Remember when Danny Green was a breakout star of the NBA Finals before the Heat decided not to leave him open at the three-point line any longer? It appears the rest of the NBA has caught on that Green can't create his own shot. He's averaging only 3.3 points in 20.3 minutes per game. His player efficiency rating of 1.30 is one of the worst in the NBA.
Spurs at Nuggets NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the Spurs opened as 3.5-point favorites with a total of 203.5. San Antonio is 1-2 ATS this season (0-2 on road) and 2-1 “over/under” (1-1 on road). Denver is 1-1 ATS (0-1 at home) and 1-1 O/U (1-0 at home). The Spurs are 6-1 ATS in their past seven after a loss. They are 5-13 ATS in their past 18 after scoring at least 100 points in their previous game. Denver is 1-7 ATS in its past eight against teams with a winning record. It is 0-5 ATS in its past five after an ATS loss. The over is 6-0 in San Antonio's past six after an ATS loss. The over is 7-2 in Denver's past nine following an ATS loss. The over is 4-1 in the past five in Denver. The Spurs are 7-2 ATS in the past nine in the Mile High City.
Free NBA Picks: Spurs at Nuggets Betting Predictions
These two teams split four meetings last season, each side going 2-0 at home. Only once in those four were both teams held under 100 points. Chandler led the Nuggets by averaging 22.0 points against the Spurs. but he played in only two of the four games. Gallinari averaged 18.3 points in three games. Ty Lawson really struggled, averaging only 9.0 points in three games. Duncan averaged 21.3 points and 10.0 rebounds against Denver, while Parker averaged 15.0 points and 7.0 assists.
The Nuggets probably will play with a bit of desperation as they don't want to start 0-3, but they just don't have enough offense with both Gallinari and Chandler out. I wouldn't be surprised if the team makes Faried available around the trade deadline, either. The Nuggets aren't going anywhere as currently constructed, and Faried is on a cheap rookie contract through next season and would bring a pretty good return.
I digress. Take the Spurs and the under.
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