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Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers Betting Preview

The Denver Nuggets (2-1) will look to take a commanding three games to one lead over the Portland Trail Blazers (1-2) as the first round of this Western Conference matchup continues on Saturday. The Trail Blazers will host this one from the Moda Center, with tipoff scheduled for 4:00 pm ET.

After dropping the first game, the Nuggets have now won back-to-back games, including a 120-115 win in Portland on Thursday. In the win, Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 36 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists. Austin Rivers chipped in 21 in the victory.

In the loss, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 59 points, but it still wasn’t enough to take down Denver. Norman Powell (18 points) and Carmelo Anthony (17 points) were also effective despite losing.

The Trail Blazers are the favorites in this one playing at home. They are -172 to win while the Nuggets’ moneyline sits at +142. The spread features Denver +4 (-110), and the over/under for total points is 227.5.

By The Numbers

Offensively, these have been two of the best teams all season long. The Trail Blazers rank fifth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 116.1 points per game. The Nuggets come in just a couple spots later at seventh averaging 115.2 points.

In terms of scoring defense, the Nuggets have a big advantage. They rank ninth overall, allowing opponents 110.3 points per game. The Trail Blazers fall to 23rd, allowing 114.5 points per game.

Denver Looks To Stay Hot

It seems as if dropping the first game at home was a wake-up call for the Denver Nuggets. Since that loss, they have scored an average of 124 points (versus just the 109 in the first game) and have held Portland to 115 or less in both victories.

The Nuggets also have the advantage in the fact they have played well on the road this season. During the regular season, Denver was 22-14 on the road.

Leading the way for Denver is big man Nikola Jokic. The “Joker” has been outstanding in the three games this series, averaging 36 points on 57.7% shooting. He is also averaging 11.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

While the absence of Jamal Murray still hurts, the Nuggets have been getting some support this series from players like Michael Porter Jr. (19.3 points, six rebounds), Aaron Gordon (14 points, six rebounds), and Austin Rivers (12 points).

Portland Shoots To Even Up Series

One thing that the Trail Blazers are not known for is their defense. Even without their second-best scorer in Murray, the Nuggets have still averaged 124 per game over their last two.

With defense being on the backburner, the Trail Blazers are simply going to need to outshoot the Nuggets at home. Unfortunately, they were actually a better road team (22-14) this season than on the road (20-16), but they still have a couple of playmakers that can take over a game.

First and foremost is Damian Lillard. The guard has been on a whole new level this postseason averaging 37.7 points and 9.3 assists per game.

In addition to Lillard, CJ McCollum has also been a threat averaging 21.3 points on 48.1% shooting. McCollum is also chipping in 7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.

Taking Denver And The Points

This one comes with the caveat that Damian Lillard has the ability to take over any game on any given night. Still, this is a situation where the higher seed, who has won two straight games, not only is the underdog on the moneyline but is being spotted four points on the spread.

It wouldn’t be shocking if the Trail Blazers came out strong in this one, but the smart play still seems to be on the hotter team. In this case, that is Denver. Take the Nuggets and the four points on the spread.

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