NBA Predictions: Blazers at Nuggets Odds and Picks
by Aaron Smith - 11/1/2013
The Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets both have a very different looking team than they had last season. Portland was in the playoff fight for a while last year before losing their last nine games to finish at 33-49 on the season. Denver went 57-25, which was the best record in franchise history.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the Blazers changed things up quite a bit in the offseason. Portland’s true weakness last year was their lack of depth. The Blazers starting five was solid last year, but the bench was the worst in the NBA. The offseason was spent working on putting together a bench that could at least keep the team competitive while the stars took a break for a bit.
Denver is in a very perplexing situation. The Nuggets won 57 games and had an extremely successful season, but for some reason decided to make some big changes in the offseason. The biggest of the changes was letting go of Coach George Karl. Karl is one of the most respected coaches in the business, but the team decided to change gears and take a chance on Brian Shaw. Shaw has been considered a likely head coach for quite some time, but it’s definitely a surprise to see him in Denver this year.
Both of these teams lost in their season opener on Wednesday night. The Trail Blazers were beaten 104-91 by a Phoenix Suns team that should be one of the worst teams in the NBA this year. Denver walked into a tough situation in Sacramento on Wednesday. The Kings had a raucous home crowd thanks to their party celebrating the news that the Kings are in Sacramento to stay. Sacramento edged out Denver 100-98 in a game that was back and forth all game long.
Blazers at Nuggets Betting Story Lines
Denver fans expect a lot out of their team. After all, the Nuggets did go 57-25 last year. The Nuggets have been almost unbeatable at the Pepsi Center over the last few years. Last year, Denver went 38-3 in front of their home crowd. This will be their home opener, and the crowd should be ready to go for this one. Brian Shaw is under a microscope this year because of the high-profile coaching change in the offseason. Shaw really needs to lead the team to a solid start this year, or the team and the fan base might start to question the hire. I would argue that no new coach in the NBA has walked into a more difficult situation as far as expectations than Shaw.
Denver’s roster is still talented, but losing Andre Iguodala was a big hit. Iguodala was the best perimeter defender on the team, and he was a great facilitator on the offensive end. Danilo Gallinari is still out of the lineup. The Nuggets are going to be leaning heavily on guys like Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried to lead the team. Newcomer J.J. Hickson will need to consistently produce this year as well.
Portland doesn’t have the same extremely high expectations, but the Blazers should certainly be better than they were a year ago. Damian Lillard was the NBA Rookie of the Year last year. He and LaMarcus Aldridge give the Blazers two stars to build around. Portland’s front office did an admirable job picking up nice pieces for the bench in the offseason. Thomas Robinson, Dorrell Wright, Mo Williams, Allen Crabbe, and Earl Watson give this team a lot more options than they had last season. The Blazers 104-91 loss at Phoenix certainly wasn’t a good sign, but by now we definitely know not to read too much into one game in the NBA.
Blazers at Nuggets NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
Bookmaker lists the Denver Nuggets as a five-point favorite in their home opener. The posted total sits at 198 points. Dating back to last season, Portland is 2-12 ATS in their last 14 games overall. The home team is 14-4-1 ATS in the last 19 meetings between these two teams. The “over” is also 6-2 in the last eight meetings between these teams. Both teams did see their season opener go “under” the posted total on Wednesday night.
NBA Predictions: Blazers at Nuggets Betting Picks
Denver has gotten worse since a year ago, but keep in mind how big of a home-court advantage they have. No one in the NBA has a bigger home-court advantage. The altitude is tough to play in, and the crowd will be pumped up. Portland laid an egg in Phoenix on Wednesday night, so it is asking a lot for the Blazers to come into Denver and knock off the Nuggets in their home opener. The Nuggets definitely don’t want to start 0-2, and they’ll have plenty of chances to pull away from a mediocre Portland team.
The Nuggets are still going to run, and the Blazers won’t be able to keep up. Take the Nuggets in this one.
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