NBA Picks: Clippers vs. Nuggets

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 2:52 AM GMT

The Los Angeles Clippers enjoyed a perfect December, but a new year sends them to face the Denver Nuggets in the Mile High City. Let’s find out if the Clippers will extend their franchise-record win streak to 18 games.

Magical run

Los Angeles extended its franchise-record 17-game win streak by picking up a 107-96 victory over the Utah Jazz as 10.5-point home favorites Sunday, while going OVER the total for the third time in four contests. The Clippers are outscoring opponents by an average of 15.2 points during their run, while compiling a 12-5 against-the-spread (ATS) record.

[gameodds]5/133483/93-43-19-999996-1096-198-238/us[/gameodds]

Ran out of gas

Denver has played 22 of its first 32 games on the road this year, which clearly showed in its 81-72 defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies as 6.5-point underdogs Saturday, as it was the team’s lowest point total of the 2012-13 NBA season. The Nuggets will look to bounce back at the Pepsi Center—where they’ve won nine out of 10 games—including a perfect 6-0 mark versus Western Conference foes.

Plenty in reserve

Sports bettors need to start realizing that the Clippers have one of the best benches in the league when making their picks against the NBA odds on a daily basis, as the group averages a league-high 42.2 points per game on 45.8 percent shooting. Jamal Crawford is the player to watch, scoring 20-plus points off the bench in 12 games this season.

Home-court advantage

Despite a 112-100 loss to the Clippers as 6.5-point road underdogs on Christmas Day, the Nuggets have still won 14 of the last 23 meetings in the series. Denver has compiled a dominating 57-19 all-time home record over Los Angeles, which includes a 12-2 mark in the last 14 in that situation. The franchise has covered the spread in eight of its first 10 home games this year.

Leader of the pack

Chris Paul is definitely the captain of this year’s Clippers team in his second season in Southern California, ranking second in the NBA with 292 total assists, while leading all players with a 4.42-to-1 turnover ratio. The former New Orleans Hornets star is averaging 16.3 points and 9.4 assists per game.

Gallinari needs to show up

The Nuggets have four probable starters averaging double figures, with forward Danilo Gallinari leading the way in scoring 15.9 points per game, including a career-high 39 points versus the Dallas Mavericks two games back. He was held to just seven points on 1-of-10 shooting in the first meeting against the Clippers, something that will have to change in a big way in this spot.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Nuggets as one of their NBA picks Tuesday, as the Clippers are 1-4 ATS on the road versus a team with a home winning percentage of .600 or higher. Denver is also a money-making 11-5 ATS in its last 16 opportunities versus conference opponents.

NBA Pick: Denver Nuggets Pick at Bookmaker