Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers Game 3 Pick
Denver Nuggets (59-32 SU, 46-45 ATS) vs. Portland Trailblazers (58-31 SU, 49-39-1 ATS)
When: Friday, May 3rd, 2019 – 10:30 PM ET
Where: Moda Center – Portland, OR
TV: ESPN / TSN
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DEN +4 / POR -4
Power Rankings: Portland -7
Takeaways from Game Two
The Trailblazers evened the series in the Mile High City by virtue of a 97-90 defeat of a Nuggets team that only lost eight games at home this season coming in. Matt also picked up the L on this one. Rip City closed as a four-point underdog but shooting guard C.J McCollum’s 20 points enabled the Blazers to successfully stage the upset.
How the Public is Betting Game Three
Presently, 77% of the consensus like the Trailblazers laying the points. However, the line movements tell another story. Portland opened as a 4.5-point favorite but have now found themselves spotting half a point less to their opponents.
Heading into Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals, there are no emerging injury concerns for either Portland or Denver.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
These two teams were in action two days ago in Denver and now the series has moved to Rip City for a two-game stint. This narrative is harrowing for the Nuggets who have been a losing basketball team on the road this season with a 21-23 SU record in away games. On the flipside, Portland couldn’t be happier as they are a remarkable 35-9 SU at home, on the year.
Will Portland’s Offense Rekindle in Game Three?
The Blazers offense averaged 114.7 points per game (6th in the NBA) but they were held to just 97 points in Game Two by Denver’s sixth-ranked scoring defense (106.7 points per contest). The problem for the Nuggets is that offense is not their strong point as they finished 20th in the league averaging 110.7 points per match. Nevertheless, defensive games are undoubtedly what the Nuggets fancy and the Blazers will look to score enough points to keep Denver at bay. Undoubtedly that narrative rest on the shoulders of franchise front-man Point Guard Damian Lillard. In the Game One loss, Dame went for 39 points but the Blazers also scored 113 against the scrappy Nuggets defense. In Game Two, Lillard went for just 14 points but Denver’s inefficient shooting (34.7% field goal efficiency) bailed out the Blazers, after all opponents on average shoot 45.7% from the field against Portland (13th in the NBA). Should Dame put up his average production of 31.1 points per match, all systems will be go for Portland’s offense, and that will truly put them in position to get another win.
Can The Nuggets Defense Stick The Trailblazers?
The Trailblazers finished the season as a top-three outfit in total rebounds per game (48.0 rpg) but they have a tall order against a Nuggets team that was the stingiest in total rebounds against as opponents averaged just 42.5 boards per contest. Moreover, the Blazers are good at shooting the three as they finish ninth from beyond the arc with a 35.9% three-point percentage. Denver was also the best in limiting success from three-point range for their opponents as they allowed the opposition to hit just 33.9% of their attempts. In Game Two, Denver was successful in this capacity as they held the Blazers to a 31% three-point percentage. However, the Nuggets could not find their stroke as they hit just 20.7% of their three-point shots. Had they not been so ice-cold from down-town perhaps Game Two would have gone in a completely different direction.
The Historical / Betting Trends
The Nuggets have produced profits against the Blazers as of recent. Overall, Denver is 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine meetings with Portland. To complement this, Denver has won seven of the last ten contests straight up between these two sides. For Over/Under players, the Over is 5-1 ATS in the last six matches between the Nuggets and Trailblazers.
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Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Denver +4
Let me preface this by saying I was very tempted to pull the trigger on playing Denver at Mybookie on the Money Line but I’ll play this one conservative and grab the points. A big selling point of Portland in this spot is their home court advantage combined with the woes that the Nuggets have undergone on the road this season. However, I need to mention that though Denver is a sub .500 team away from the Mile High City, they are outscored by opponents on average by just 2.7 points in road contests. To make a long story short, the Nuggets are competitive in road games even if they lose. In the Western Conference Quarterfinals, Denver dropped Game Two at home against the Spurs and followed-up to fall behind 2-1 in the series when they lost Game Three in San Antonio. As a result of these events, virtually all thought the Nuggets’ days were numbered. Nevertheless, Denver found a way to get a needed road win in Game Four and dispatched the Spurs in seven to move onto the next round. Let me say that I am also a huge fan of Damian Lillard and I was impressed in how Rip City took care of OKC. But way too many are putting too much stock in this and overlooking how effective this Nuggets team truly is. If Game Three does not result in an upset, Denver will keep this game close enough to come in under the number.