San Antonio Spurs @ Denver Nuggets | NBA Playoffs Predictions and Betting Tips
After winning Game Four in San Antonio, the Nuggets have essentially made the series a bet of three with two of those games to be played in Denver—where they were very tough during the regular season. But the Spurs have the winningest coach in NBA history on the sideline. If anyone can figure out how to win in Denver, he can.
Spread: Nuggets by 5.5
Money Line: Spurs +200; Nuggets -240
*Odds via 888sport
San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio would have loved to have taken both games at home in order to keep from having to win another one in Denver. But after getting off to a good start defensively in the first quarter, they didn’t have an answer for anything the Nuggets did in the second and third. As a result, Denver outscored the Spurs 67-45 over the two. If San Antonio is going to get another win in Denver, they either need the Nuggets to have another cold shooting night as they did in Game One or figure out some way to disrupt the Nuggets from behind the arc. In Game Four, Denver hit 15 of 31 three-point attempts; in Game Three, they hit 15 of 29. Game Two saw them hit 10 of 24. Slow them down from three-point range and maybe hit a few more of their own (24 of 68 in the series), and they could steal another win in Denver. However, while the Spurs did lead the league in three-point field goal percentage in the regular season (39.2), the Nuggets led in lowest percentage allowed (33.9).
Denver head coach Michael Malone wanted his team to play with more passion and desire in Game Four, and he got his wish. They started off slow, but once they got going and jumped ahead, they didn’t look back. The offense got on track in the second quarter, and the defense made sure the San Antonio offense did not get on track. But can they do it again and take command of the series? Being the No. 2 seed in the conference, you would think that would be an easy question to answer. But while the Nuggets got off to a great start going 35-15 through January, they were a mediocre team the rest of the way (17-13). However, if they can keep making 15 three-pointers a game, they stand to have a very good chance of winning Game Five.
San Antonio Spurs @ Denver Nuggets Head-to-Head
The Nuggets and Spurs split their regular season series with each team winning their two home games. But from a historical perspective, the Spurs have dominated the all-time series with 118 regular season wins to 69 for Denver. They have also played 29 times in the postseason—which San Antonio has also dominated, 22-7. Of the previous six postseason series between them, San Antonio has won five of them with the only loss coming in the first round in 1985. The last time they met in the playoffs was in the first round in 2007; San Antonio won, 4-1. They lead the current series, 2-2.
Odds and Predictions
The Nuggets were one of the better defensive teams in the NBA during the regular season, so it should come as no surprise that they were able to lock down the San Antonio offense as well as they did in Game Four. But the key for San Antonio hasn’t necessarily been beating Denver’s defense. It has been beating Denver at the foul line. The key in Game Three was a 23-9 differential in made free throws. San Antonio had the edge in Game Four, but the difference was only two (24-22). The Spurs have been a little too reliant on the Nuggets fouling and missing shots in this series. But if how the Nuggets played in Game Four is any indication, they are not going to gift wrap an advantage for San Antonio again. Take Denver to win (-240), straight up and against the spread (-5.5).
Expert Betting Tip
As for the over/under (212), this has been a low scoring series and will remain one. Take the under.