The Denver Nuggets will take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night, with tip set for 10 p.m. ET from Moda Center. The Nuggets (14-10) are coming off a heartbreaking one-point loss to the Mavericks on Tuesday, marking their third straight loss. The Blazers (13-11) just won their second straight as they took down the Pacers 116-100 on Sunday.
The Blazers sit as one-point favorites coming into this game, priced at -115 on the moneyline, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The Nuggets are at -105 while the point total is set at 227.5.
Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. ET
Pick ATS: Blazers -1
It’s easy to see which team is trending up and which is trending down, as the Nuggets have now lost three in a row after coming off a four-game winning streak. The Blazers just recently snapped a three-game losing streak and have won their last two, and will hope to keep that momentum going against Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets.
Damian Lillard (calf) made his return in the win over the Pacers after being sidelined since suffering his injury on November 19th, and comes as a breath of fresh air as he put up 21 points, six assists, and four rebounds. Anfernee Simons stepped up in a huge way while Dame was absent, averaging 29.4 points per game in the seven outings without Lillard on the court. He topped out at a career-high 45 points against the Utah Jazz last Saturday, helping lift his side to a 116-111 win at Vivint Arena.
The Denver defense has been struggling through the start of the season, allowing an average of 113.7 points per game so far. That number jumps up through their last three games as they’ve allowed 118 ppg from opposition in that stretch. They’ve failed to win or cover in their last three outings, while Nikola Jokic failed to score more than 20 points twice in their last four games.
While it’s likely to be a close affair, I’m taking Portland to win and cover at home especially after they trounced the Nuggets in their last meeting with a 135-110 victory on October 24.
Over/Under: Over 227.5
After Jokic’s 17-point performance against the Rockets at the end of November, he scored over 20 in his next two games before putting up just 19 against the Mavericks in their last outing. I think we’ll see him bounce back with a good performance as both sides should be able to put up a decent amount of points, as the Blazers will also have both Lillard and Simons to rely on at the offensive end of the court. While the Blazers have failed to go over the total in their last two, the Nuggets have done it three times in their last five. Take the over in this one.