San Antonio (48-34) at Denver (54-28)
When: Saturday, April 13th, 2019
Where: Pepsi Center,
Time: 10:35 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Denver -5/211.5
The Denver Nuggets had one of their best seasons in franchise history, yet nobody seems to be taking them seriously as an NBA Finals contender. Denver will try and prove them wrong when they begin their quest in the Western Conference first round matchup with the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night at Pepsi Center. Much of Denver’s success came at home, where they were an NBA-best 34-7, while just 20-21 away from home, including losing both games played in San Antonio, making home court advantage that much bigger. The Nuggets, who are in the postseason for the first time in five years, were 25-16 ATS at Pepsi Center in 2018-19. The Spurs are no strangers to postseason action, in fact, they have the longest current streak in all four major sports at 22 consecutive playoff appearances. San Antonio doesn’t turn the ball over often and their offensive efficiency is surprisingly good. The Spurs rank second in field goal percentage (47.8), first in both 3-point shooting (39.2) and free throws (81.9). Not only did the home team win all four meetings this season, but the host has won each of the last 10. The most recent meeting was April 3rd when the Nuggets rolled to a 113-85 victory.
The Spurs have two 20-point scorers in power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (21.3) and newcomer DeMar DeRozan (21.2). Aldridge upped his game in the season series with Denver by averaging 22.3 points and shot 55.7 percent from the field in the games. DeRozan shot 15.6 percent from 3-point territory – yes, that stat is correct. He made 89 three-pointers with Toronto last season, but was just 7-of-45 in his first year with the Spurs. San Antonio has eight players that average over 21 minutes a game and that depth is key in the postseason.
There’s no doubt who the leader of this Denver squad is, as All-Star center Nikola Jokic has put up MVP-type numbers all season. Jokic recorded the second-most double-doubles (56) and triple-doubles (12) in franchise history, behind Dikembe Mutombo and Fat Lever. Denver also gets 18.2 points a game from Jamal Murray and 12.9 from guard Gary Harris, but the defense has been just as important to the Nuggets’ success in 2018-19. Denver holds opponents to 106.7 points a game and a league-best 33.9 percent from three-point range.
I’m sticking with the overriding trend when these two teams meet. Not only has the home team dominated, but the Nuggets were at their best at Pepsi Center and San Antonio was just 16-25 away from home. Look for Denver to roll in Game 1.
Pick: Nuggets -5.5
Spurs are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Spurs are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Spurs are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 road games.
Spurs are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games playing on 2 days rest.
Spurs are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
Spurs are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.
Spurs are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up win.
Spurs are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
Spurs are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 vs. Western Conference.
Nuggets are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games playing on 2 days rest.
Nuggets are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games.
Nuggets are 8-21 ATS in their last 29 vs. NBA Southwest.
Nuggets are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
Nuggets are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
Nuggets are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 Conference Quarterfinals games.
Under is 4-0 in Spurs last 4 games playing on 2 days rest.
Under is 4-0 in Spurs last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Under is 4-0 in Spurs last 4 games following a straight up win.
Under is 9-0 in Spurs last 9 vs. Western Conference.
Under is 4-0 in Spurs last 4 vs. NBA Northwest.
Under is 4-0 in Spurs last 4 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Under is 5-0 in Spurs last 5 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
Under is 5-1 in Spurs last 6 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points.
Under is 4-1 in Spurs last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
Under is 7-2 in Spurs last 9 road games.
Under is 7-2 in Spurs last 9 games following a ATS loss.
Under is 16-5 in Spurs last 21 overall.
Over is 6-2-1 in Spurs last 9 Conference Quarterfinals games.
Over is 26-10-1 in Spurs last 37 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Under is 5-0 in Nuggets last 5 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
Under is 5-0 in Nuggets last 5 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
Under is 6-0 in Nuggets last 6 vs. NBA Southwest.
Under is 4-0 in Nuggets last 4 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Under is 6-1 in Nuggets last 7 home games.
Under is 13-3 in Nuggets last 16 games following a ATS loss.
Under is 12-3 in Nuggets last 15 games following a straight up win.
Under is 21-7 in Nuggets last 28 overall.
Under is 19-7 in Nuggets last 26 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
Under is 13-5 in Nuggets last 18 vs. Western Conference.
Under is 5-2 in Nuggets last 7 games playing on 2 days rest.
Under is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.
Spurs are 21-8 ATS in the last 29 meetings in Denver.
Favorite is 10-4 ATS in the last 14 meetings.
Road team is 28-13 ATS in the last 41 meetings.