Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets | NBA Playoffs Predictions and Betting
After a 4OT marathon in Game Three, the winner of Game Four was bound to be the team who was able to recover the best in such a short timeframe (less than 48 hours). As it turns out, the Denver Nuggets were up to the challenge. But with the series tied up at 2-2, can they pull ahead with a win at home in Game Five?
Spread: Nuggets by 4.5
Money Line: Trail Blazers +165; Nuggets -190
*Odds via BetOnline.ag
Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers will need to get over quickly how close they came to taking a 3-1 lead in the series in Game Four. They outplayed the Nuggets for three of four quarters; they led by six at the half, 63-57 and outscored the Nuggets in the fourth, 35-32. But a lackluster showing in the third quarter (14-27) cost them the game. Portland head coach Terry Stotts talked about the disappointment in losing after the game, via ESPN: “We had a bad third quarter and that kind of made the difference. We made a good comeback, but now it’s a three-game series.” Game Five may hinge on how well Enes Kanter can perform. He has been battling a left shoulder injury throughout the series and separated it again during the 4OT game on Friday. But his struggles in Game Four seemed more about foul trouble than his shoulder. If they are going to have a shot in Game Five, Kanter and Zach Collins need to do a better job of limiting Nikola Jokic. They can’t let him get another triple-double (like he did in Game Four).
As disappointing as it had to be to lose a 4OT game, the Nuggets appeared to have their heads on straight for Sunday’s Game Four: “We just said to ourselves, if we win today, last game doesn’t really matter that much,” Nikola Jokic said, via ESPN. “Yes, we played four overtimes; it was exhausting. But we want to make the last game not really matter.” With the win in Game Four, the series is tied at 2-2, essentially making this a best of three series with two of the three games being played in Denver. However, in six postseason games in Denver, the Nuggets are 4-2 after going 34-7 during the regular season. As long as Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are able to get on track offensively early on, the Nuggets will be in a position to win Game Five in the end.
Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets Head-to-Head
The Nuggets won the regular season series against the Trail Blazers taking three of the four games they played. But from a historical perspective, Portland leads the all-time series with 98 wins to 82 for Denver. However, Denver won seven of the last ten regular season games along with the previous five in a row at home. They have met twice before in the postseason with each team winning one series. Portland won the Western Conference Semifinals, 4-2, back in 1977; Denver beat Portland in the first round in 1986, 3-1. With the current season tied 2-2, both teams have beaten the other seven times in postseason play.
Odds and Predictions
What fans should expect is another hard-fought, gritty performance from both teams. The stars for both teams are certainly doing their part to put on a show (CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard for Portland; Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray for Denver). So, what this game will likely come down to is whose role players can contribute more. It is easier to see Paul Milsap and Gary Harris stepping up than Enes Kanter, Al Farouq Aminu, and Moe Harkless. This will be another very close game, but it will ultimately be another Denver Nuggets win. Take Denver to win straight up (-190). But take Portland to win against the spread (+4.5 points). As for the over/under (213.5), both offenses have been pretty productive in this series. Take the over.
Expert Betting Tip
With Damian Lillard’s potential to explode for a big game, the Nuggets are far from a lock to win Game Five. But taking the over in this game should be a pretty safe bet.