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Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets Betting Preview

The first round of the NBA playoffs continues on Monday, and one of the more intriguing matchups will feature the No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers (1-0) against the No. 3 Denver Nuggets (0-1). Denver will host this one at Ball Arena, with tipoff scheduled for 10:00 pm ET.

On Saturday, the Trail Blazers were able to upset the Nuggets in the first game, 123-109. In the victory, Damian Lillard led the way with 34 points and 13 assists. CJ McCollum also added in 21, while Carmelo Anthony had 18.

In the loss, Nikola Jokic had a dominant performance with 34 points and 16 rebounds. Michael Porter Jr. also had a nice game with 25 points and nine rebounds, while Aaron Gordon had 16 points and eight rebounds.

Despite the loss on Saturday, the Nuggets are the favorites in this one. They are -118 to win while Trail Blazers’ moneyline sits at +100. The spread features Portland +1.5, and the over/under for total points is 226.5.

By The Numbers

This season, both of these teams have been really strong on offense. The Trail Blazers rank fifth in the NBA, averaging 116.2 points per game (124 over their last three games). The Nuggets rank eighth, averaging 115 points (109.7 over their last three).

Defensively, it is Denver with the big advantage. They rank ninth in scoring defense allowing opponents 110.3 points per game. The Trail Blazers fall to 23rd, allowing an average of 114.2 points per game.

Portland Hopes To Keep Pressure On The Nuggets

By taking the first game on the road, the Trail Blazers have already shifted this series to their advantage. Still, they would love nothing more than to steal the first two games on the road and return to Portland with a commanding lead.

The Trail Blazers have arguably the best backcourt in the NBA in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. In 67 games this season, Lillard is averaging 28.8 points on 45.1% shooting. He is also averaging 4.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists.

CJ McCollum missed several games this season due to injury, but when he is on the floor, he is dangerous. In 47 games, he averaged 23.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.7 assists.

One of the biggest advantages that Portland has in this matchup is two solid big men to try to attack Nikola Jokic with. Between Jusuf Nurkic (11.5 points, nine rebounds, 3.4 assists) and Enes Kanter (11.2 points, 11 rebounds), they have quite the 1-2 punch in the frontcourt.

Nuggets Out To Even Up Series

It is no fluke that the Denver Nuggets finished in third in a loaded Western Conference. With one of the best players on the planet in Nikola Jokic, they present a challenge for most opponents.

Jokic has been exceptional this season. In 72 games, he is averaging 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 8.3 assists, and 1.3 steals. As he showed on Saturday, he is definitely a dominant force for the Nuggets.

The real question is whether he can get enough support for Denver to win. Aside from Jokic, the next leading scorers include Michael Porter Jr. (19 points, 7.3 rebounds) and Aaron Gordon (12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists).

As good as the Nuggets have been this season, they still are missing Jamal Murray, who is out for the season with an ACL injury. His scoring in the backcourt (21.2 points, 4.8 assists) helped extend defenses and allowed teams to not be able to completely hone in on Jokic in the interior.

In his absence, guard Facundo Campazzo is going to have to step up for the Nuggets to be successful.

Taking Portland And The Points

Between the absence of Jamal Murray and the combination of Nurkic and Kanter on Jokic, the Trail Blazers seem like a good bet to upset the Nuggets in this series. With that in mind, take Portland at +1.5 on Monday.

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