The No. 3 seed Denver Nuggets meet the No. 6 seed Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs Saturday night. The Nuggets feature MVP favorite Nikola Jokic, but the Trail Blazers have a dangerous backcourt in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Here’s a look at how bettors should approach Game 1 of what is expected to be a tight series.
Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets, Game 1, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Pick ATS: Nuggets -1
At -1, this is essentially a question of who you think will win the game. The Nuggets will be gutted by Murray’s absence, but Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. will want to make a strong statement at home. Lillard is a playoff monster, but Denver will have enough to grab the early series lead.
Player Prop: Michael Porter Jr. Over 3.5 made three-pointers
Porter Jr. has been on fire since Murray’s injury, shooting 48.9 percent from downtown on 7.9 attempts per game. He’s going to continue to get the green light in this series and more importantly, the Trail Blazers don’t have a great defensive answer for him. With Jokic receiving a lot of attention, Porter Jr. should get a lot of easy looks. There’s some risk involved here, but the volume should be there for Porter Jr. to make good on this prop.
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