In theory, the L.A. Clippers are the smart choice for Tuesday’s NBA picks, but the Denver Nuggets have something to say about that.
Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Tuesday, January 11, 2022 – 10:30 PM EST at Crypto.com Arena
There’s a disturbance in the force. The Los Angeles Clippers have opened as 2.5-point home dogs on the NBA odds board at BetOnline, as they prepare for Tuesday’s game against the Denver Nuggets. That’s a bargain price according to FiveThirtyEight, who project the Clippers to win by a single point. On top of that, ESPN’s Basketball Power Index also has L.A. winning 56.7% of the time, which is somewhere between –1.5 and –2 according to Wizard of Odds.
This would usually be more than enough for us to consider putting the Clippers in our NBA picks – but there’s a problem. As a rule, I don’t quote subscription-only content in this space, but I can tell you that the other projections I’m looking at generally have Denver winning by somewhere around three points. What’s going on here? Bad math? Possibly. Personnel changes? Probably.
Help Has Arrived
As you may recall, we had the Over here at the ranch the last time we looked at the Clippers (20-21 SU, 18-23 ATS). They were without several of their best defenders when they visited the Phoenix Suns, but the Clippers couldn’t get any offense going in this matchup, either. Final score: Los Angeles 89, Phoenix 106 (Under 222). If only we had known that Nicolas Batum (plus-2.9 BPM) was going to make his return for Los Angeles. Oh well.
At least one more defender is back in uniform for L.A. Ivica Zubac (plus-1.4 BPM at Basketball Reference) came off the COVID-19 list for Saturday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies, and because the world is upside-down, that game went Over 214.5 points when the Grizz won 123-108.
That still leaves the Clippers without seven players, including Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but I’m not seeing any reports from L.A. that would explain the disconnect with the projections I mentioned above.
McGruder Your Way Out of This
The Nuggets (20-18 SU, 16-22 ATS) have obviously dealt with their share of injuries and illness this year, but they’ve had reigning MVP Nikola Jokić (plus-13.4 BPM) in the lineup since late November, so he can’t be the reason why these projections are messed up.
If anything, the loss of Will Barton (plus-0.2 BPM) to the COVID-19 list should make life more difficult this Tuesday, especially given how thin Denver’s backcourt is without Jamal Murray, who’s still recovering from last year’s torn left ACL.
The Nuggets did just swing a trade that will send little-used center Bol Bol (minus-1.1 BPM in 81 minutes) to the Detroit Pistons for back-up guard Rodney McGruder (minus-5.8 BPM) and a second-round pick, so at least they might have another warm body to throw out there if McGruder is cleared in time to play.
But if he’s the answer, the only possible question is how much to bet on the Clippers at the top-rated sportsbooks. Make it a small amount given all this uncertainty, and may the sphere be with you.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.