Editor’s note: This is the second in a weekly series called “Betting Nuggets” that will offer expert picks and tips when betting on Denver Nuggets lines and props. Make PlayColorado your destination for all information pertaining to the Nuggets.
Last week’s trends
As the first week of the season came to an end for the Denver Nuggets, they found themselves undefeated after two games against the Phoenix Suns and the San Antonio Spurs. Neither game was played well, and the Nuggets still have plenty of questions to answer. But despite their setbacks, they were able to come away with a victory in each while getting closer to mid-season form.
In those two games, two trends emerged: Nuggets covered the spread and the under hit in both matchups.
The Nuggets covering the spread in both games does not indicate much at this time. There simply needs to be more games played before making any serious takeaways. But Denver hitting the under in both matchups is much more interesting.
The Nuggets offense has not fully actualized this season for any extended period of time. They will go on runs once or twice a game, but the typical offensive onslaught has not been there. Does that mean an offensive explosion is on the way or are there some issues that the Nuggets need to address? That will be one of the more interesting storylines to watch this week as Denver takes on the Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Nuggets vs Cavaliers
One of the most popular markets is Nuggets spreads. While the Cavaliers are far from a perfect team, they present particular issues for the Nuggets that could keep this game closer than it should be. The combination of Ricky Rubio and Collin Sexton defending the perimeter could make it difficult for the Nuggets to get to the rim. Additionally, Jarrett Allen is a strong rim protector in his own right and Evan Mobley has already shown he can be an impactful defender. If the Nuggets fail to play at a quick pace and get the Cavaliers on their heels, they could find themselves stuck in mud similarly to the Atlanta Hawks, who lost to Cleveland 101-95 on Saturday.
With the Nuggets still trying to find their rhythm on offense, the value would be to bet the Cavaliers .
The Nuggets offense is better than it has shown in their first two games, but the combination of the Cavaliers perimeter defense and the Allen protecting the rim will make it difficult to feel comfortable betting on a Nuggets game to hit the over for the first time this season. Additionally, Cleveland is not a dynamic offensive group.
Until the Nuggets show growth in their offensive production, the smart play would be taking the under for .
Cavs vs Nuggets props to consider
- After a slow scoring start to the season, Michael Porter Jr. scoring over 17.5 points against the Cavaliers is a smart bet. He will be defended by Mobley, the promising rookie, or Lauri Markkanen, who struggles keeping up with quicker wings on the perimeter. The stage is set for Porter to break out of his scoring slump.
- The Cavaliers are going to have their hands full trying to defend Denver’s wing combo of Porter and Aaron Gordon. Regardless of which two Cleveland wings defend Porter and Gordon, Porter will get most of the defensive attention leaving Gordon with room to operate on-or-off the ball. That is why betting Gordon to score over 10.5 points tonight is a good bet.
- It is abuntantly clear after two games how important Will Barton III is to the Nuggets. When Denver’s bench struggled against the Suns, it was Barton who entered the game and steadied the ship. In a close fourth quarter against the Spurs, it was Barton who initiated the offense and acted as the running mate with Jokic. Additionally, Barton has filled those roles perfectly with 11 assists and zero turnovers so far this season. For those reasons, betting Barton to have over 3.5 assists tonight is a great value bet knowing he will have the ball in his hands regularly regardless of circumstance.
Nuggets vs Jazz
The night after taking on the Cavaliers at home, Denver will be battling with the Jazz in a Northwest Division matchup that could have repercussions on playoff seeding for both teams.
Depending on if the Nuggets and Jazz are fighting for seeding against one another or if Denver is fighting with another team for seeding, record in their division — or outright winning their division — is one of the most important tiebreakers to own. That makes this an important game for both teams.
The Utah currently owns the best odds of winning the Northwest Division at , but the best value would be Denver at . That gives them roughly 22.7% implied odds to win the division. The Jazz could absolutely dominate the regular season as they did last year, but -303 is not enough value considering how unpredictable the Western Conference is this season with so many injuries at the top of the conference and many up-and-coming young teams at the bottom of the conference.
Nuggets vs Mavericks
The Nuggets battle with the Mavericks on October 29th is set to be a meeting of the MVP candidates. Jokic, the league’s reigning MVP, and the Nuggets will be hosting Luka Doncic, who owns the best odds to win MVP this season at , and the Mavericks on ESPN.
Jokic’s MVP odds have already began to shift after just two games. After starting the season at +1800, those odds have jumped to . To be fair, Jokic is averaging 29.5 points, 14.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 2.5 steals per game on 65.9% shooting from the field over his first two games including a win over the Suns in Phoenix to get the season started. He is playing like the league’s reigning MVP and has the Nuggets undefeated after two games.
Doncic is putting up MVP-like numbers himself averaging nearly a triple double. He is scoring 22.5 points, 10 rebounds, and 9.5 assists over his first two games leading the Mavericks to a 1-1 start. But there are serious questions about how the coaching shift in Dallas could negatively impact Doncic’s chances to win MVP. Doncic is currently shooting just 41.5% from the field and 23.5% from three and the Mavericks have not looked great scoring the basketball. It is too early to say for sure, but the concerns about the Jason Kidd hire seem warranted so far.