NBA Picks Against the Spread: Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers
Thursday, 12/20/12, 10:00 PM EST, TV:  KGW
Opening Point Spread:  Denver -6
Current Betting Line:  Denver -5.5
Opening Total:  199
Current Total:  199.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Portland Trail Blazers will have trouble on the boards without LaMarcus Aldridge in the lineup Thursday night

Denver has won three games in a row as it prepares to hit the road again, coming off a 112-106 victory over the San Antonio Spurs as 2.5-point home favorites on Tuesday night, while going OVER the total for a second consecutive contest.  The Nuggets enter this Western Conference matchup with a 7-11 record away from home this season, while they’ve played just eight games at the Pepsi Center.  Denver is 4-0 ATS versus division foes this season, with the OVER going 3-1 in that situation.

The Nuggets are 24-11 overall against the Trail Blazers since the 2003-04 campaign, but have gone 9-11 in their last 20 trips to the Rose Garden.  Denver dropped two of three meetings in this series a year ago, including both on the road.  It’s all about rebounding for this team in the early going this year, as it owns a plus-103 advantage in that category thus far.  Leading scorer Danilo Gallinari continues to play well on the offensive end, as he poured in a season-high 28 points last time out.

Portland has won three of its four games on a current homestand, including a 95-94 victory over the New Orleans Hornets as five-point favorites on Sunday, but it will play this affair without leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge.  He suffered a sprained ankle versus the Hornets, which leaves a gaping hole in this team’s starting lineup, considering he’s averaging a team-high 21.0 points and 8.0 rebounds this season.  Portland is 2-5 ATS as a home underdog of 3.5 to 6 points the last two-plus seasons, which can’t be ignored when making your NBA picks against the spread.

The Trail Blazers need to put up some points in this contest, as the winning team has scored at least 100-plus points in five straight meetings, and in 11 of the past 14 in this series.  Aldridge averaged 20.7 points and 7.7 rebounds on 54.2 percent shooting from the field in three games versus the Nuggets last year.  Portland did a great job of defending the perimeter, limiting Denver to 23.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc during the 2011-12 campaign.

Sports bettors will likely back the Nuggets due to their 6-0 ATS mark versus Northwest division foes, while the Blazers are 3-9 ATS in the same situation.

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