Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors Preview and Pick

Denver Nuggets (47-31), +5, o/u 240 vs. Golden State Warriors (47-31), -5, o/u 240, Oracle Arena, Oakland, California, 8 p.m. Eastern, Thursday
By Oracle of

This is as big as it gets when it comes to regular season play. The Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors have battled for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference for the latter part of the season.

When these two high-scoring teams hit the hardwood on Thursday night at the Oracle Arena nice name – it’ll go a long way in determining who ends up with that final eighth seed.

Both teams have been absolutely torn up about their defense this season. Golden State is the worst defensive team in the league as far as giving up points goes, allowing 108.3 per game. Denver isn’t much better, giving up the second most points in the league at 106.9 per game.

Therefore, it’s not a surprise that online bookies set this over/under mark at an absolutely huge 240. The public has liked the under so far, as it has already slipped down to 238 points at some places.

Golden State also comes in the favorites -5 against a Denver team that has lost two out of three, including a 151-147 loss, against Seattle of all teams, in double overtime early this week.

Both teams make up for their porous defensive statistics by having the two best offenses in the game. Golden State scores a league leading 110.8 points per contest while Denver is second at 108.3. The Warriors have been held under 100 points just 11 times out of their 78 games.

With Denver’s feeble defense, that shouldn’t be the case on Thursday night.

The last time out, the Warriors beat Sacramento 140-132 on Tuesday, and that was in regulation. Baron Davis is the engine that makes this sleek car run, as the guard put in 33 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out nine assists. Andris Biedrins, who may be a key factor down the stretch, scored 17 points and grabbed 17 boards in 34 minutes of play. He shoots nearly 63% from the floor on the year. He’ll have the task of matching up with Denver center Marcus Camby.

Davis doesn’t have to worry about handling the ball as much anymore because of Monte Ellis, who has come into his own this season. He scores 20.1 points per game, tied for second on the squad with Stephen Jackson.

Denver actually owns this season series so far, two games out of three. If they were to beat GS on Thursday, it’s almost as if they end the night with a two game lead over the Warriors in the playoff race instead of just one, as they would own the tiebreaker.

Denver put together a nice five game winning streak to get themselves in this position, but they’ve also been inconsistent most of the year.

It’s surprising to see Denver struggling to make the playoffs, only because they have a solid starting five with Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony leading the way. Add into the mix Camby, who is always a Defensive Player of the Year candidate when he’s healthy, and an athletic Kenyon Martin, it’s difficult to figure out why this team struggles the way it does (duh, defense).

Denver easily handled the Clippers on Tuesday night, thanks in large part to Melo’s 36-point effort. Camby was also a stud with 13 points, 18 boards and a block.

In the previous match up just under two weeks ago, a 119-112 Denver win, it wasn’t Melo or AI getting the headlines. Instead, Martin scored a season-high 30 points while Denver got 39 points off the bench, including 20 alone from J.R. Smith.

Iverson struggled by shooting just 4-of-20 in the win.

Golden State’s lone win against Denver saw a 105-95 low scoring contest. Only one out of the three head-to-head battles this season has gone over the 240 o/u mark that this game is set for.

However, the over does have a trend when these two meet, as it’s 10-4 in the last 14 match ups and 6-1 in the last seven games in Oakland.

Golden State hasn’t covered well at home lately, going just 6-15 ATS in the last 21 at Oracle Arena. They are also just 2-6 ATS in their last eight against teams from the Northwest Division.

Golden State did end up covering two of the three games against Denver this year, including an 8-point margin and a 4.5-point spread.

If bettors and fans alike enjoy high-scoring, non-stop action, this is the game to watch tonight. The over/under is a huge mark, but if anybody could surpass it, these are the two teams that could.

Oracle’s Pick: Golden State may very well win this game but their giving too many points. Take the Nuggets to cover!