These are happy times for the Denver Nuggets. But the party’s over in Golden State, where the Warriors are getting hammered by the basketball odds despite winning 12 of their last 15 games straight-up.
Jason’s record as of Mar. 11: 48-45-4 ATS, 4-8 Totals
It’s been nearly two weeks since the Denver Nuggets fired head coach Brian Shaw, and the celebration is still going on. Denver has improved to 4-2 SU and 5-1 ATS since replacing Shaw with interim head coach Melvin Hunt. Sadly for us, that lone ATS loss happened when we followed the Nuggets in last week's 114-110 loss to the Houston Rockets. But the logic for supporting Denver remains.
Not only remains, but multiplies. The Nuggets host the Golden State Warriors Friday night (9:00 p.m. ET), and while the Warriors are back on top of the overall NBA standings after going 12-3 SU in their last 15 games, they went 5-10 ATS along the way. We kicked off March by successfully fading Golden State (–8 away) in a 106-101 win over the Boston Celtics. We’re fixing to do it again Friday, with the Dubs laying up to eight points on the NBA odds board.
So is there anything new we can tell you about these two teams? Well, Darrell Arthur (12.6 PER) ended up playing against Houston despite his strained calf, although he was held to eight minutes. Arthur might continue to see limited action, but he does bring some value to the Nuggets (24-41 SU, 26-36-3 ATS), as we saw in Wednesday’s 115-102 win over the Atlanta Hawks (–7 away). Arthur sank all five of his field-goal attempts for 10 points in just 10 minutes of work.
I suppose the fact that Denver beat the Hawks was newsworthy enough. This was with all of Atlanta’s starters in the lineup, but the Nuggets still beat them soundly, playing with boundless energy and sinking 13 of their 31 trey attempts. Six other players besides Arthur scored in double figures for Denver, led by Danilo Gallinari (14.7 PER) and his 23 points on 8-of-12 from the field. This is not a mirage. This is not a fluke. This is life after the triangle.
We should also take a moment to recognize the contributions of back-up shooting guard Will Barton (17.7 PER). He dropped 16 points, six rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal on the Hawks in 33 minutes off the bench, continuing his strong play since arriving from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Aaron Afflalo (11.7 PER). Pretty good deal, when you consider the Blazers also handed over a first-round draft pick in 2016.
It’s been pretty much the same old same-old for the Warriors (51-12 SU, 36-26-1 ATS) since our last visit. Stephen Curry (27.5 PER) has played better this month, posting a plus-16.9 in seven games, but he’s still well behind the blistering pace he set in November (plus-21.5). Same for Klay Thompson (20.5 PER), who’s up to plus-18.6 this month, but still has a way to go before hitting his November mark of plus-25.0.
We don’t mean to rain on the Dubs’ parade. They’re still playing very good basketball, and it’s nice to see Curry and Thompson get some of their groove back. However, Golden State’s NBA Odds market was set way too high way too early. Curry is still favored to win this year’s MVP honors by a fairly wide margin, but he’s fallen to second in the league in Wins Above Replacement at 14.52 WAR, behind Houston’s James Harden at 15.73 WAR. It is what it is.
This is one of the reasons why making NBA Picks later in the year can be so profitable. Expectations for the Warriors have been inflated, while at the same time, people aren’t really paying attention to what’s going on in Denver. Let’s profit while we can.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Nuggets +6.5 at BetOnline