NBA Western Conference Picks: Denver Nuggets at San Antonio Spurs

Manu-Ginobili-spursDenver at San Antonio
Time: 8:30 PM ET, Mar 26, 2014
Spread: SAS -13.5

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

The San Antonio Spurs seem to be good for at least one really long win streak every season. It’s in the midst of one now, as winners of its past 14 games.

The Spurs will host the 32-39 Denver Nuggets in a game NBA oddsmakers at Bovada are favoring the Spurs handily, setting the line 13.5 points in favor of Gregg Popovich’s squad.

Part of what makes the Spurs streak so impressive is the contributions of its bench. In the win over Philly on Monday (Mar 24), the Spurs bench scored 51 points, led by 22 from Austin Daye, who hit 6-of-10 from three-point range. Tony Parker did not play, nor did Danny Green and Tiago Splittler, but Cory Joseph filled in admirably for Parker, scoring 12 points and dishing out seven assists in a team-high 35 minutes.

As the Spurs have aged, Popovich has played Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Parker far less minutes, but it hasn’t mattered. The Spurs have nine players averaging better than eight points per game and can get offense from anyone on any night. The Denver Nuggets don’t exactly have a tough defense, so it’s more a matter of predicting which Spur the Nuggets will make look like an All-Star in this game.

Denver is able to score, make no mistake. The Nuggets rank 9th in the NBA in points scored (103.8), but are unable to get stops, allowing a third-worst 105.9 points per game. Accordingly, the Nuggets have a lot of players with impressive scoring marks, but the numbers are misleading due to the poor defense.

Ty Lawson is averaging 18.1 points and 8.9 assists per game and posting a PER of 19.7, but the only other Nuggets posting above-average PERs are Kenneth Faried and J.J. Hickson. Hickson is a notoriously poor defender, and Faried is not that good man-to-man. There’s just too many holes on the Nuggets to be exposed by a well-oiled Spurs machine.

DEN Trends: UNDER 4-0 in last 4 following SU loss of more than 10 points; 6-1 ATS in last 7 following SU loss; 5-1 ATS in last 6 games playing on 1 days rest.

SAS Trends: 5-0 ATS in last 5 when opponent allows 100 points or more in previous game; 7-0 ATS in last 7 following ATS win; 5-0 ATS in last 5 following SU win of more than 10 points.

Head-to-head: Nuggets 8-2 ATS in last 10 meetings in San Antonio; UNDER 19-6-1 in last 26 meetings in San Antonio; UNDER 37-17-1 in last 55 meetings.

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