The Denver Nuggets are back.
After a four-month pause to the NBA season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nuggets play the first of their eight regular-season seeding games at 11 a.m. MST on Saturday, Aug. 1, against the Miami Heat.
As of today, Denver holds a regular-season record of 43-22 and is the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
Under the NBA’s return-to-play plan, the Nuggets have already qualified for the playoffs. What’s left to decide is Denver’s seeding. Thus, the next eight games.
When you look at the teams the Nuggets will play, there’s no guarantee they will stay in that No. 3 spot. Needless to say, Denver didn’t get any favors for these games.
Nuggets eight-game seeding schedule
|Denver Nuggets eight seeding games schedule||Date||Opponent||Time (MST)||TV||Radio|
|Game 1||Saturday, Aug. 1||Miami Heat (41-24)||11 a.m.||Altitude/ESPN||Altitude Radio 92.5FM/950AM|
|Game 2||Monday, Aug. 3||Oklahoma City Thunder (40-24)||2 p.m.||Altitude/NBA TV||Altitude Radio 92.5FM/950AM|
|Game 3||Wednesday, Aug. 5||San Antonio Spurs (27-36)||2 p.m.||Altitude||Altitude Radio 92.5FM/950AM|
|Game 4||Thursday, Aug. 6||Portland Trail Blazers (29-37)||6 p.m||Altitude||Altitude Radio 92.5FM/950AM|
|Game 5||Saturday, Aug. 8||Utah Jazz (41-23)||1:30 p.m.||Altitude/TNT||Altitude Radio 92.5FM/950AM|
|Game 6||Monday, Aug. 10||Los Angeles Lakers (49-14)||7 p.m.||Altitude/TNT||Altitude Radio 92.5FM/950AM|
|Game 7||Wednesday, Aug. 12||Los Angeles Clippers (44-20)||7 p.m.||Altitude/ESPN||Altitude Radio 92.5FM/950AM|
|Game 8||Friday, Aug. 14||Toronto Raptors (46-18)||TBD||Altitude||Altitude Radio 92.5FM/950AM|
All NBA games will be played at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
Teams have been in their respective “bubbles” since the middle of July. During that time, teams have played scrimmage games to prepare for the return. For what it’s worth, Denver went 1-2 in their scrimmages.
In the Nuggets’ final tune-up for the eight seeding games, they lost to the Orlando Magic 114-110.
According to DenverStiffs, Denver guard Jamal Murray had a great first half, but the team struggled with turnovers and team defense. We’ll see if those two issues get corrected for the Heat game on Saturday and going forward.
Nuggets vs. Heat odds
|Denver Nuggets vs Miami Heat odds||DraftKings||FanDuel||BetMGM|
|Point Spread||Nuggets -112|
|Total Points Scored||Over 210.5 -112|
Under 210.5 -109
|Over 210.5 -110|
Under 210.5 -110
|Over 226.5 -110
Under 226.5 -110
In terms of sports betting odds, the Nuggets open as a slight favorite over Miami, according to DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM.
Here is the latest betting breakdown for Denver versus Miami:
- 71% of bets and 81% of money on point spread betting is on the Nuggets.
- 84% of bets and 75% of money on moneyline betting is on the Heat.
- 83% of bets and 93% of money is on the over (210.5).
As for the teams that will play, the top eight teams from the Western and Eastern conferences will be joined by teams within six games of the No. 8 seed in both conferences.
There is the chance for a play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed; it just depends on how those seeding games unfold.
According to ESPN when the plan was announced, the play-in tourney happens if the No. 9 seed finishes the regular season within four games of the No. 8 seed. As ESPN notes, in that case, the ninth seed would need to beat the eighth seed twice, while the eighth seed would need one win from the two potential games.
Is this the Nuggets’ year?
Now the question on the mind of CO basketball fans: Is this the Nuggets’ year?
As DenverStiffs pointed out, they certainly have the talent, but do they possess the maturity?
For both the NBA Western Conference and NBA championship, Denver’s futures odds haven’t moved much since the return to play plan was announced in early June.
That means for Colorado sports bettors, the Nuggets remain a long shot when it comes to both.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers are the favorites in the West, and along with the Milwaukee Bucks, the favorites to win it all.
|Denver Nuggets odds||DraftKings||FanDuel||BetMGM|
|NBA Western Conference Champion||Lakers +150|
|NBA Champion — Top five followed by the Nuggets||Lakers +250|
Remember, there’s no longer a home-court advantage.
Teams will play on a neutral court in Orlando, and they will do so without fans. The seeding games and NBA playoffs will have the feel of a summer basketball league, just with the best players in the world.
The question now is: Does seeding matter?
Obviously, teams want to win as much as possible. The last thing Denver wants to do is lose the majority of its eight games and enter the NBA playoffs with no confidence.
That right there highlights what could ultimately decide who wins the NBA Finals: if a team gets hot and carries that momentum throughout the playoffs, that team has the best opportunity to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
NBA sportsbooks promos
As you would expect, there are all kinds of sports betting bonuses from sportsbooks looking to get fans to pick their app.
Here are a few of the promos:
FanDuel one-game limited offer
FanDuel’s “Spread the Love” is a promo for Lakers versus Clippers tonight (July 30), and is available for new and existing users. The line moves +1 in the Lakers’ favor for every 2,500 customers that bet the market. This promo runs until tip-off of the Lakers versus Clippers game 7 p.m. MST tonight (July 30). The max bet is $50.
DraftKings bet $20, win $100
Bet $20 to win $100 on any team of your choosing in any matchup to start the NBA season. The promo runs today (July 30) through Saturday, Aug. 1. Following your opt-in, you’ll get a single-use odds boost for any team/game. The boost is for +500 odds for a team to win its game. The maximum bet is $20.
BetMGM 200% deposit match
BetMGM wants Colorado sports bettors to get into the game with a special 200% deposit match of up to $100.
Minimum deposit is $10, and you must use the bonus code NBADEPBONUS200100CO when making the deposit. This offer expires at 9:59 MST Sunday.
How the Nuggets can find success
As for the Nuggets, Murray and Nikola Jokic are the keys. They set the tone for this team. When they play well, good things usually follow for Denver. The Nuggets need complementary players to step up and contribute. It doesn’t need to be the same guy every game; Murray and Jokic need help.
Enter the new craze in the NBA: Bol Bol.
The 7-foot-2, 20-year-old rookie has been the talk of the scrimmages.
Yes, that's our 7'2" big man running off screens for a three.
No biggie. @BolBol | #MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/YxUoCXBf4V
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) July 28, 2020
If Denver head coach Michael Malone plays the rookie in the eight seeding games, Bol Bol could turn into that secondary player. There’s also Michael Porter Jr., who was all the rage before Bol Bol. There’s enough craze to go around if it helps Denver win games.
It’s a great problem to have if you’re Malone and the Nuggets.
And, honestly, if the Colorado gambling apps aren’t offering a Bol Bol full of promotions, what are they even doing?
Since the mid-1970s, Denver sports fans have waited for an NBA championship.
From David Thompson and Alex English to Dikembe Mutombo and Carmelo Anthony, they’ve always come up just a little short.
Perhaps in one of the most unique and wild years on record, this is when the Nuggets, and fans, finally cash in.