High Scoring Affair: San Antonio Spurs at Denver Nuggets Betting Preview

San Antonio Spurs AT Denver Nuggets
Mar 23, 2011 at 10:30 PM EST
Opening Line:  Denver -3
Current Line:  Denver -5.5
Opening Total:  210.5
Current Total:  211.5
Opening Moneyline:  Den -200 / SA +170
Current Moneyline:  Den -210 / SA +175

George Hill and teammate Tony Parker have a tough test tonight in Denver's backcourt

It’s difficult to fathom how the 57-13 Spurs could be 3 point underdogs to the 42-29 Nuggets…until you consider the fact that Tim Duncan is now out indefinitely.  While Duncan has not been his dominant self of past years, he is still a huge part of the Spurs’ success and he anchors the Spurs defense, providing some interior toughness when Spurs perimeter defenders get beat off the dribble.  Taking this, and the fact that the Nuggets have been red hot since dealing away team franchise player Carmelo Anthony, and it becomes more easy to see how the Nuggets can be favored in a game like this.

Spurs guard Manu Ginobili is uncertain how things will work out without Duncan.  “It’s really hard to tell,” said Ginobili. “You never know. I’m guessing that (coach Gregg Popovich) is going to be extra cautious … but we need him in the court.”  They may receive significant contributions from rookie Tiago Splitter, who was highly touted coming into the season.  After Duncan went down, Splitter came in to score 10 points and grab 14 rebounds.  The Spurs will also need strong contributions from DeJuan Blair, Antonio McDyess, and Matt Bonner.

Some betting trends:

San Antonio is 6-1 SU In their last 7 games and they are 5-10 ATS In their last 15 games.  The total has gone OVER in 10 of their last 15 games and the total has gone OVER in 4 of their last 6 on ther road.  San Antonio is 14-6 SU in their last 20 on the road and they are 5-0 SU In their last 5 against the Denver Nuggets.  The total has gone UNDER in 6 of the last 7 games against Denver and the total has gone UNDER in 13 of the last 19 road games in the Pepsi Center.  The total has gone OVER in 4 of the Spurs’ last 6 games on the road in Denver, as well, while the Spurs are 4-1 SU In their last 5 road games there.

Denver is 11-4 SU in their last 15 games and the total has gone UNDER in 9 of their last 11.  The total has also gone UNDER in 4 of their last 5 at home and they are 5-0 SU in their last 5 at home.  The total has gone UNDER in 6 of their last 7 games against the Spurs and they are 0-5 SU in their last 5 games against the Spurs.  Denver is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 against San Antonio and the total has gone UNDER in 13 of their last 19 against the Spurs.  The total has gone OVER in 4 of their last 6 at home against the Spurs and they are 1-4 SU in their last 5 at home against the San Antonio Spurs.

Key Matchups:

Ty Lawson & Raymond Felton vs. Tony Parker & George Hill

With Parker being the only player of these four to have made an all star team, Lawson, Felton, and Hill are all on the cusp of being eventual all stars in their own right.  Lawson has emerged to be the starting point guard following the deal that sent Carmelo Anthony and former starter Chauncey Billups off to New York.  Lawson recorded 23 points and 8 assists in the 33 point drubbing of the Raptors last game.  Felton did not play and is day to day with a sprained ankle.  The luxury afforded to the Nuggets in having two point guards capable of such a high level of play is also seen on the Spurs.  Parker hasn’t really slowed down yet and Hill is emerging to be one of Gregg Popovich’s favorite players, because he works hard and plays hard and fits into Popovich’s system flawlessly.  Expect all 4 guards mentioned here to push the ball and the score will be very high resultingly from it.

Nenê vs. Tiago Splitter

For Brazillians, it won’t get any better than this.  Two of Brazil’s best players ever square off at center and will be going for all the bragging rights that come with the spoils of victory.  Splitter is finally going to receive a chance for big minutes with Duncan injured and Nenê has been one of the better centers over the last few seasons, after dealing with a case of testicular cancer that he overcame. Splitter doesn’t really have the beef to body up to Nene and will find himself struggling to box out Nene all night.  Expect the Nuggets to benefit from this matchup as both Splitter’s inexperience and frail frame will cause Nene to have a big night.

Tonight’s game should be a high scoring and exciting affair.  The Spurs will get their first litmus test as to how well they can play without Duncan.  The Nuggets will similarly test how well they measure up against the best in the west since the trade.

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