Pick Nuggets to 'Cover' as Home Dog vs. Mavericks

Joe Catalano

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 2:44 PM GMT

Wednesday, Mar. 5, 2014 2:44 PM GMT

Tonight, the Denver Nuggets face the Dallas Mavericks at full power in a very winnable game. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 pm ET at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. This game can be seen on ESPN.

At 25-34, the Denver Nuggets would need a virtual miracle to make the playoffs. The Nuggets are currently 9.5 games behind the Phoenix Suns for the number 8 spot in the NBA Western Conference with 23 games remaining in the regular season. 

Odds makers expect this to be a high scoring affair as the NBA odds have the Mavs at 4.5 point betting favorites on the road and the total for the game is 216.5.

Denver knows that with Ty Lawson back in the lineup, this is a must win situation against one of the teams who are above them in the standings. The Nuggets appear to be a live dog in this spot.

Ty’s The Guy

Denver’s playoff chances were severely damaged after Ty Lawson went down with an injury. The Nuggets were 1-7 without Lawson in the lineup and although Randy Foye and Evan Fournier did a spectacular job making up the difference, the Nuggets were unable to overcome being without their leading scorer.

Lawson has come back and made an immediate impact with 31 points and 11 assists in a tough 132-128 loss to Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Nuggets defense has cost them all season, allowing 105.1 points per game, which is good for 28th in the league. I don’t see the defense changing anytime soon and we’re going to see many more shootouts with Denver, but they’ll definitely benefit with the return of Lawson to the starting lineup.

Shooting guard, Randy Foye, has come on like a ball of fire in Lawson’s absence. In his last 5 games, he’s averaging 19.4 points per game on 45.2 shooting from 3-point range. Even during Lawson’s return, Foye scored 22 points on 4 of 8 shooting from beyond the arc. For the Nuggets, this game comes down to playing good defense.

A Difficult Spot

The Dallas Mavericks are currently safe and secure in the 7th spot in the Western Conference. They surely wouldn’t want a 1st round matchup against the OKC Thunder in the playoffs. Another problem is that this team is filled with veterans such as Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion, who can get them 45 plus wins a season, but that’s not going to win the Mavs an NBA Title and it wouldn’t position themselves well for the NBA Draft. That said, Dallas has had a very good showing in the 2013-2014 NBA season.

Monta Ellis

One of those reasons is the addition of Monta Ellis from Milwaukee. While Brandon Jennings has had tough times in Detroit, Ellis has gotten a taste of what it’s like to play on a winner. At 28 years old, Ellis is the young player in the bunch that owner, Marc Cuban, can build upon. Ellis is averaging 19 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game. He’s played especially well in his two games against the Nuggets this season. Nowitzki and Ellis make a nice 1-2 punch and could give some teams problems in the post-season.

Outcome

I’m really looking for a reason not to take Denver in our NBA picks, but the 4.5 points at home with Lawson back in the lineup is too much to turn away. Rebounding will be a key to this game. J.J. Hickson has been playing very poorly as of late along with the Denver defense, but Dallas is a very weak rebounding team and I think that Denver will be able to capitalize.

Pick - Denver Nuggets +4.5 at Bet 365

[gameodds]5/257457/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

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