San Antonio at Denver
Time: 8:30 PM CT (NBA TV)
Series Tied 2-2
Game 5 Spread: DEN -5.5
Game 5 Total: 211
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Denver Nuggets stormed through the regular season and found itself seeded No. 2 in the Western Conference. As it turns out, the San Antonio Spurs may not have been its best draw. Through four games, the series is split 2-2 with a pivotal game five in Denver tonight on NBA TV. The Nuggets are 5.5-point favorites over Gregg Popovich’s Spurs, in a game that could swing the series in Denver’s favor—as it was supposed to go. There is hardly a reason to count out the tough Spurs though. The over/under is set at 211 points according to NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes.
Both teams split their respective home stands 1-1. The Spurs collided against the league’s toughest home team in Denver, but it has been strong at the Pepsi Center where it defeated the Nuggets in Game 1. The series has alternated between the teams, with the Nuggets taking the series most recent game 117-103.
MVP candidate Nikola Jokic has been the primary difference maker for Denver. He had 29 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists in the game 4 victory, posting a +17 for his 39 minutes of play. The point-center averaged better than seven assists per game this season and he will be in the MVP conversations (albeit unlikely to win the award). Jamal Murray had an efficient outing, as well, shooting 8 of 14 (3 of 5 from three) en route to 24 points and six assists.
The Nuggets shot 44 percent from the field but canned 15 of 31 from three-point range and 22 of 24 from the line. Denver also was careful with the basketball, committing just seven turnovers (while forcing just nine from the Spurs). This series has been a showcase of offense, despite San Antonio’s tough defense. The teams combined for 220 points in Game 4, even though just 50 of those came in the game’s final quarter. Pace, as usual, remains the key to betting the over/under.
The Spurs are still unsure what to expect from many of its key players. Derrick White has been up and down in the most ridiculous way, and even DeMar DeRozan (19 points) has been not the steady source of offense he is known to be. White had 37 points already this series in a game, but he managed just eight shots for eight points in Game 4. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 on 10 of 17 shooting to go along with nine rebounds, an assist, and two steals, but he was the best of the starters at a -8 point differential for his 29 minutes.
The Spurs were hoping its outstanding depth would be a difference-maker, but the Nuggets have a few really strong players in its second unit, as well. Malik Beasley, Monte Morris, and Will Barton combined collectively for 30 points off the Denver bench.
Look for Popovich to go to DeRozan more early in the game, because without him scoring closer to 30 points (than 19) the Spurs lose this series, simply.
ATS TRENDS (c/o Covers):