Warriors at Nuggets Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 4/23/2013
If you took the home team over the weekend in NBA Playoff action, you most likely cashed in, with every home team winning its series opener and five of the eight covering the spread. Really, no home team was ever in much danger of losing except for the NBA's best home team this season: the Denver Nuggets.
Denver had one of the best home records in history at 38-3 and entered Saturday's Game 1 against playoff inexperienced Golden State as a 7.5-point favorite. I didn't think the Warriors had a prayer of winning, even with the Nuggets playing without starting power forward Kenneth Faried. Yet it took a game-winning layup by ageless Andre Miller -- the first game-winner at any level for the 37-year-old -- for Denver to escape with a 97-95 win. Miller had 18 of his career playoff-high 28 points in the fourth.
So the Warriors have to be encouraged with how close they made it, while the Nuggets got the win and that's all that matters. Recent history also suggests that Denver will reach the NBA Finals even though it is +560 third-favorite to win the West behind the Thunder and Spurs. The last four teams to enter the playoffs on at least a 21-game home winning streak all reached the Finals, and three won it all. The last was the 1988-89 Pistons.
Tuesday night's Game 2 tips off at 10:30 Eastern and is on TNT.
Warriors at Nuggets Betting Story Lines
Any chance the Warriors had of pulling off the series upset vanished in the fourth quarter of Game 1 when all-star forward David Lee went down with a hip injury that turned out to be a torn right flexor muscle. He's done for the season, and it's a devastating blow. Lee averaged 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds in leading the NBA in double-doubles with 56 and becoming the first Golden State all-star since Latrell Sprewell in 1997. Lee had 10 points in 14 boards in Game 1 -- snapping the NBA's longest active streak of regular-season games (577) without a postseason appearance -- and will be replaced in the starting lineup by Carl Landry. He's a solid enough player but undersized, and that weakens the Golden State bench in a big way. Richard Jefferson might actually play some as well. The Warriors are now +700 on BookMaker to win the series, with Denver at -1200.
The Warriors ranked No. 3 in the NBA in rebounding largely because of Lee. Denver ranked No. 2 largely because of Faried, and he will play in Game 2 -- making Lee's absence even more glaring. Faried also missed Denver's final two regular-season games with a sprained ankle. "Manimal" averaged 11.5 points and 9.2 rebounds this season with 31 double-doubles and 113 blocks. In four regular-season games against the Warriors, he averaged 11.3 rebounds and the Nuggets were 3-1. Wilson Chandler will go back to his reserve role with Faried's return.
I expect Golden State to perhaps go with a small, guard-heavy lineup at times as well as play more zone defensively. The Warriors will also need monster games from Stephen Curry, who missed his first nine shots in Game 1 and finished 7-for-20 for 19 points and five turnovers. The Warriors had to be encouraged by Klay Thompson's playoff debut performance (10-for-19 for 22 points) and that of Andrew Bogut, who had nine points and 14 rebounds in 31 minutes. The Warriors were plus-10 when he was on the court. He's probably going to have to play more minutes going forward, and he's awfully injury prone when that happens. Bogut didn't play in any of the four regular-season meetings.
Warriors at Nuggets Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BookMaker, Denver is an eight-point favorite with the total at 207. The Warriors were 42-39-1 ATS this season (19-21-1 on road) and 47-34-1 “over/under” (25-16 on road). The Nuggets were 49-32-1 ATS (28-13 at home) and 46-35-1 O/U (20-21 at home).
The Warriors are 7-0 ATS in their past seven after a loss. They are 4-1 ATS in their past five road games vs. teams with a winning home record. Golden State is 1-4 ATS in its past five Tuesday games. The Nuggets are 6-1 ATS in their past seven vs. teams with a winning record. They are 1-4 ATS in their past five games overall. The over is 7-3 in the Warriors' past 10 playing on two days of rest. The over is 4-0 in Denver's past four after an ATS loss. The under is 4-1 in the past five in Denver. The home team has covered five of the past seven meetings.
Warriors at Nuggets Picks and Betting Predictions
Denver was outrebounded by 10 in Game 1 without Faried after doing so in just 24 regular-season games. That should change in a big way on Tuesday. I believe the Nuggets got a wake-up call and will play much better in this one -- no Nugget other than Miller had more than 12 points in the opener. Denver is also 16-2 at home against the Warriors since the start of the 2003-04 season. The Warriors are 3-18 in the 21 games Lee has missed during his Golden State career. This season, the Warriors were outscored by 4.8 points per 48 minutes when Lee was off the floor. The Warriors’ offensive rating dipped from 106.2 to 98.7 when he left the court. The Nuggets win by double digits. Also take the under.
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