Defense Coming Back For These Two Western Conference Powerhouses

Defense Coming Back For These Two Western Conference Powerhouses

Jordan’s NBA Picks: 51-33

Portland (50-28 SU & 44-34 ATS) at Denver (52-26 SU & 40-38 ATS)

Friday, 10:30 PM EST, ESPN

Free NBA Pick: Under

Best Line Offered: BetOnline

The Nuggets and Blazers have struggled on defense at times this season and the loss of Jusuf Nurkic for the season really hurts Portland’s defense. However, in this meaningful game for both team’s playoff positioning, we should see a playoff-style game with plenty of defense.

Sportsbooks Overvaluing Both Team’s Offenses

We all know that the public loves to bet overs. Hell, I love to bet an enticing over even when I know it may be a trap, because this is the NBA and guys get hot and scores can be pushed to the limit if the teams are playing at fast paces.

However, that will not be the case here on Friday in Denver. The Nuggets have been one of the top home defenses in the league this season, allowing only 105.3 points per 100 possessions. In this big game atmosphere and with the Blazers still down their second and third best offensive weapons, I could see the Nuggets holding them down some in this one.

The first two meetings between these teams both went over, but both were played with significantly different players for Portland than their game on Friday.

However, since Nurkic went down, the Blazers have enjoyed a nice run of opponents that are either not in the playoffs, or barely hanging on in the East. Denver is the best team they have played without Nurkic in the lineup this season. However, the Blazers’ defense hasn’t taken a big hit yet without the Bosnian Beast. Over their last five games without their star big man, Portland is only allowing 103.9 points per 100 possessions.

The Sharp Pick

So, if the Blazers can keep their defensive intensity up on the road and against a much better opponent, this total is at least two or three points too big right now. Neither team plays at a very fast pace. In fact, both teams have a pace of less than 100 possessions per 48 minutes since the All Star Break and lately the Blazers have been playing even slower.

If you combine the lack of pace with the improving defenses, I would not be surprised if one or both teams fail to score 100 points tonight. In their last meeting of the regular season a year ago, the final score was 88-82 in favor of the Nuggets in a very similar game.

Portland is 14-9 cashing the under this season as road dogs and 17-12 cashing the under as underdogs this season. Denver is 30-17-1 cashing the under versus the West this season and 31-24-1 cashing under the total as favorites.

Considering Denver has cashed under the total in three straight, five of their last six overall, and in five straight home games, add the under to your NBA Picks Friday night.

Final Score Prediction: Blazers 102 – Nuggets 108