Portland Trail Blazers (2-2 SU & ATS) vs Denver Nuggets (2-2 SU & ATS)
Tuesday, May 7, 10:30 PM EST
Free NBA Pick: Nuggets SU, Blazers ATS
Recommended Sportsbook: 5Dimes
Game 5 is on tap for Tuesday, May 7 and the confidence in the Denver Nuggets locker room and amongst betting enthusiasts appears to be sky high. Indeed, since the NBA odds went to press the action has been entirely one-sided with consensus betting showing an overwhelming early tilt towards the Nuggets particularly in spread betting markets.
Bookmakers opened the line at -4.5 (-110) with the Denver Nuggets to the good on home turf. So far the line is holding at its opening point but if the trend continues with the public betting heavily on the Nuggets it’s sure to move. As it is, bookies are adjusting the juice at several top-rated sportsbook platforms with some outlets going down to -4.5 (-105) such as 5Dimes and Heritage.
After the gutsy 116-112 victory on the road, it’s easy to understand why bettors might be jumping on the Denver bandwagon. It was a crucial victory, in which the Nuggets recovered home court advantage. More importantly, it came immediately after the epic 140-137 quadruple-overtime defeat to the Trail Blazers in game 3 that saw the Nuggets slip to 1-2 in the series.
It takes quite some mettle to come back from a massive disappointment. Nobody wants to be on the losing end of historic, epic marathon matches – it was only the second game in NBA history to go so far (the first was way back in 1953). The Nuggets certainly didn’t enjoy it. But less than 48 hours later they put in quite the performance to bounce back in the series and get back on level ground ahead of game 5 at home. Now that is something to stand up and take notice of.
Nikola Jokic was stupendous in the Nuggets victory. He had 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his second straight triple-double and fourth of the playoffs. Truth be told, Portland had a rather shaky third quarter and were outshot 27-14, after which they never really recovered. One wonders whether fatigue and emotions factored in the second half as the Blazers really petered out.
NBA Betting Verdict: As it stands, the Denver Nuggets are correctly tipped as the home favorites. As the home team, the Nuggets are top of the league with a 38-9-0 SU mark that includes a 9.7 winning margin on average (stats include playoff games). As home faves, they are once again tops with a 36-8-0 SU mark and a 10.8 winning margin on average. For those that like math, the latter stats translates to an 81.8 % winning ratio. If that isn’t a reason to bet on the Nuggets to win straight up, what is?
Stats can give Jokic and company a lot of confidence ahead of game 5. Indeed, Malone talked about how they turned the tables on Portland following the epic game 3 loss. They turned to stats that provided them with the necessary assurance that it was possible. “I really was confident because in close games this year, we’re 13-3, decided by three points or less,” Malone said. “We’re 12-1 in the second nights of a back-to-back, best record in the NBA.” (Source: ESPN).
Against the spread, the Nuggets are 28-19-0 ATS at home and 26-18-0 ATS as home faves. In the playoffs, they are 6-5-0 ATS with a 1.4 winning margin on average. After a win, they are 31-28-0 ATS with a 2.5 winning margin on average.
Betting the Nuggets to win straight up does seem to be the smart bet at home, particularly after they bounced back in game 4 on the road. Covering the spread might be a bit dicey. The last two games of this series have been decided by four points or less and there is every reason to believe this game could be just as close. As such, we’re hedging our bets with a Nuggets win and Blazers cover.