Los Angeles Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets Preview and Pick – Point Spread

L.A. Clippers (19-22 20-20-1 ATS) vs. Denver Nuggets (27-14 18-22-1 ATS) Pepsi Center, Denver, CO 10:30 PM EST Thursday January 21, 2010 on TNT
by Jason Green at Predictem.com

Point Spread: Clippers +9.5 / Nuggets -9.5
Over/Under: 210

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Tonight the red-hot Denver Nuggets host the L.A. Clippers, who are playing well as of late. The Nuggets have won 4 in a row, are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and lead the Northwest Division by 2 games over the Portland Trailblazers. The Clippers are playing un-Clipper like, as they have won 2 in a row, are 6-4 in their last 10 games, and trail the L.A. Lakers in the Pacific Division by 13 games.

This season the Nuggets have the fewest home losses, tied with the Lakers and Cavaliers, being 18-3 while the Clippers are only 5-13 on the road. The Nuggets have beat the Clippers in 5 straight games at the Pepsi Center.

In their last meeting the Clippers beat the Nuggets in L.A., but tonight they will have to beat a Denver team that is on fire and having no problems lighting up the scoreboard. The Nuggets are 5-1 since PG Chauncey Billups (18.8 ppg) came back from a groin injury and since returning he has averaging 26.3 ppg.

The Clippers have to play some defense against a Nuggets’ team that ranks 3rd in the league in scoring (107.7 ppg). The Clippers are only 2-16 on the road when they fail to hold opponents under 100 points.

The Nuggets have to key on Clippers’ C Chris Kaman (20.4 ppg 9.3 rpg), as he has been playing great as of late scoring at least 20 ppg in 14 of his last 15 games after never scoring 20 points in 3 consecutive games in his career.

In their last game the Clippers beat the Chicago Bulls 104-97 last night. The high scorer for L.A. in that game was Baron Davis going for 23 points on 8/17 shooting. For the game the Clippers shot 38/72 from the floor for a FG% of 46.3%. On defense the Clippers were solid holding the Bulls to 39/91 shooting for a FG% of 42.9%.

The Nuggets also won last night beating the Golden State Warriors 123-118 in OT. The high scorer for Denver in that game was Chauncey Billups blowing up for 37 points on 11/19 shooting, grabbing 8 rebounds, and dishing out 8 assists. For the game the Nuggets shot 42/88 from the floor for a FG% of 47.7%. On D the Nuggets allowed the Warriors to shoot 41/95 for a FG% of 43.2%.

This season the Nuggets rank 3rd in scoring (107.7 ppg) and the Clippers only rank 26th (96.6 ppg). On defense the Clippers rank a respectable 15th in points allowed (99.1 ppg) while the Nuggets only rank 21st (102.4 ppg). Both teams are pretty even on the boards, as the Clippers have a rebounding differential of +0/7 rpg and the Nuggets are at -1.0 rpg.

According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Nuggets rank 7th (93.54) and the Clippers rank 20th (87.91). This season L.A. is only 3-10 against teams that rank in the top 10 of the Sagarin ratings.

L.A. is 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against teams with a winning percentage above .600, and in their last 6 games the total has gone Over.

Denver is 5-13-2 ATS in their last 20 games, 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games as a home favorite, 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a losing road record, and the total has gone Over in 5 of their last 6 games when they are the home favorite.

Baron Davis (16.4 ppg) has been playing well lately, but he will not be able to muscle around Chauncey Billups, so look for him to struggle tonight.

On the injury front the Clippers are a little banged up, as C Chris Kaman, PG Baron Davis, and SF Al Thornton are day-to-day and PG Sebastian Telfair is Out and for the Nuggets PG Ty Lawson is day-to-day.

Jason’s Pick: The Clippers simply cannot win on the road when they do not play defense. Denver is such a high scoring team that they will cause major problems for the Clippers and that will be the difference in this game. The Nuggets will win this home game and cover the spread snapping the Clippers’ 2-game winning streak.