Things have gone from bad to nuclear for the Trail Blazers despite winning two in a row. The cloud of not having Damian Lillard will hang for at least another five weeks after he completed surgery on Thursday for an abdominal issue. Portland is down C.J. McCollum and most likely Norman Powell, still out with COVID. Anfernee Simons and Larry Nance are out tonight, and Cody Zeller is doubtful. The Nuggets should cruise to victory tonight as they return home angry after blowing a 25-point lead to the Clippers. Led by Nikola Jokic, Monte Morris, and Will Barton, Denver is getting healthier during their most recent stretch.
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NBA Player Props & Picks | Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets
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Under 212.5 (-105, DraftKings)
The line on this game is 10.5, and that is the best number on OddsShopper. The better play here is to rely on the Nuggets’ eighth-ranked scoring defense to hold a bunch of Portland bench players to little output. The other issue is Denver blowing second half leads to either lose the game or simply fail to cover a large number. Neither team is going to score a lot of points; Denver is the 24th-ranked scoring offense, and Portland is down everyone. No matter how fast the Nuggets play in the first half, they still need a willing participant to hit the over. The Trail Blazers cannot be trusted to score on the Nuggets, so take the under as the best available play on this game.
Jusuf Nurkic Over 9.5 Points (-125, Caesars)
The Blazers have their starting center healthy and available. There is a significant gap between the 9.5 rebounds at the book versus Awesemo’s projection of 11.9 boards. Nurkic will not have much competition around him, especially as the Blazers are down a couple of rebounding options. The Blazers also do not have many bodies to keep Nurkic off the boards. Another way to play this prop would be taking Awesemo’s 11.9-rebound projection and playing a 12-rebound prop on FanDuel for a +190 return. Going just over on the rebound prop is a solid play mainly because it can work solo and in a same-game parlay. OddsShopper has a 77% chance of this going over 9.5, the highest percentage in this game.
Robert Covington Under 10.5 Points (-110, DraftKings)
Just because Covington is out there does not mean he is going to score points. That rings true for every member of the active Blazers squad against Denver. OddsShopper has a 63% chance of Covington staying under 10.5 points, as Awesemo’s projection is only 8.8. The Nuggets defense is solid, and they do not have four other options to worry about before getting to Covington. He may be one of the main focuses of Denver’s defensive attack, mainly forcing Covington to put the ball on the floor rather than pull up from 3. Expect a long night of bad looks for Covington turning a profit for this under play.
Nikola Jokic Over 24.5 Points (-110, FanDuel)
Jokic has only cracked 30 points one time in his last six games and is hovering around a mid-20s number on average. The books have finally relented and dropped Jokic’s points totals through 25. Take advantage of the bounce-back opportunity for him tonight against a weak and thin Blazers defense. Jokic has failed to hit this number in two straight games, the first being a terrible night of shooting the ball, and the most recent a huge lead blown by the team. Jokic should do most of his damage in the first half through scoring more than anything else. OddsShopper has a 55% chance of hitting, but Awesemo’s projections are over at 25.6 points. Portland will not have an answer and may get Nurkic in foul trouble early, which would all but lock in this prop going over.
Nassir Little 3+ 3-Pointers (+260, FanDuel)
Little stands the best chance of hitting multiple 3-pointers tonight. Portland is down their top four 3-point shooters, and No. 5 is Covington. The Nuggets may not crash hard on Little’s looks from 3, and he should have plenty of shooting opportunities. He has the sixth-most attempts from 3 on the team and has the ability to knock down an open shot or two. With an increase in minutes comes an increase in looks, as Little is averaging six-plus attempts from 3 over his last five games. He has also hit at least two in that five-game stretch, hitting at least three in two of those games.