The loaded Western Conference is stacked with intriguing first-round matchups for the 2021 NBA Playoffs and the No. 3 seed Denver Nuggets matching up with the No. 6 seed Portland Trail Blazers is certainly one of them.
Led by MVP frontrunner Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets managed to maintain their spot within the upper echelon of the Western Conference in spite of the season-ending ACL tear to star guard Jamal Murray. The always feisty Blazers, meanwhile, had to fight their way out of play-in territory late in the season and earned the six-seed by winning eight of their last ten games of the regular season.
Let’s take a look at where DraftKings Sportsbook and the public are leaning heading into the first-round best-of-seven.
Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers series betting splits
The lines indicate that this series will be a virtual tossup with the Nuggets as slight favorites with -115 odds to the Blazers’ -106. So far, 64% of public handle is on Portland while 61% of total bets have been placed on favored Denver.
Outside of Murray being sidelined, both teams are relatively healthy entering the series. Denver and Portland had competitive regular season matchups against each other this season with the Nuggets winning the first two by a combined six points. Portland did secure the six-seed with a 132-116 victory over Denver to close the regular season last Sunday, but the Nuggets were resting most of their core in anticipation of the playoffs.
Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers Game 1 outlook
Game 1 is just as much of a tossup as the entire series with Denver entering as a slight one-point home favorite. Damian Lillard and the Blazers have been on fire offensively as of late so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them snatch homecourt away with a Game 1 upset. 62% of tickets are on Denver while 54% of handle is on Portland.
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