The Golden State Warriors (27-6) host the Denver Nuggets (16-16) this Tuesday evening on NBA TV in the first of four scheduled meetings this season. Golden State has won three in a row while the Nuggets are coming off a 103-100 win over the Clippers on Sunday. Let’s see what the NBA odds for this matchup tell us!
Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors
Tuesday, December 28, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at Chase Center
The Warriors (21-10-2 ATS) are a 6-point favorite over the Nuggets (13-19 ATS) at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. It is a matchup of the second-best spread record in the league against the fourth worst. Can Nikola Jokic keep his Nuggets close with Steph Curry’s Warriors?
Nuggets: Mediocrity Achieved
Last year, the Nuggets finished 47-25 and Nikola Jokic won the MVP award. This season, the Nuggets are a perfectly mediocre 16-16 as they are still missing Jamal Murray (ACL) and lost Michael Porter Jr. to a back injury.
However, Jokic’s numbers are comically consistent with last year so far. In his MVP season, Jokic shot 56.6% from the field on 18.0 field goal attempts per game. This year, Jokic is shooting 56.5% from the field on 18.0 field goal attempts per game.
His rebounds are also up to 13.8 per game and he is leading the NBA again in PER (32.7). The only reason his scoring is down 0.5 points per game is that Jokic is struggling from the line. He’s only making 76.8% of his free throws after being above 81% in each of his first six seasons.
But Jokic got some help in Sunday’s close win over the Clippers. It was the first time all season the Nuggets won a game despite Jokic finishing with a negative scoring differential (minus-7) when he was on the court. Jokic had a season-high 22 rebounds, but he shot 9-of-24 from the field, his third-worst shooting game of the season.
The Nuggets came back from nine down in the fourth quarter after Will Barton (17 points) and Austin Rivers (four threes) hit some big shots late. Jokic hit two clutch free throws and the Clippers missed the game-tying three.
It snapped a two-game losing streak, but the Nuggets are a team that has been mired in mediocrity this season. They followed a five-game winning streak with a six-game losing streak in November. Since then, the Nuggets have neither won nor lost more than two games in a row.
Denver is ranked 20th in Offensive Rating and 19th in Defensive Rating. Denver is 17th in rebound percentage, 15th in 3P%, and 18th in FT%. The only area where Denver stacks up in elite company with Golden State is in assists and assists-to-turnover ratio. However, the Nuggets allow the fewest assists per game in the NBA this season.
Warriors: Still the Best
It should take a great effort from a mediocre Denver team to hang with the Warriors, who still own the best record in the league and rank No. 1 in Defensive Rating and Net Rating. Golden State’s only loss in the last seven games was the 119-100 trip to Toronto where Curry and most of the team’s stars did not play. That remains the only game all season where the Warriors allowed at least 115 points.
The Warriors are 26-1 when they score at least 103 points this season. You have to hope for an off-shooting night against the Warriors, who are 20-0 when they shoot at least 47% from the field. In all six of their losses, the Warriors failed to shoot better than 47% from the field, 35% from three, and 75% from the free-throw line.
The Warriors are also 23-1 when their opponent shoots under 46% from the field. The only loss was in overtime to Memphis early this season. How does Denver stack up? The Nuggets have allowed at least 103 points in 20 of 32 games (5-15 record).
The Nuggets shoot at least 46% in 17 of 32 games, or just over half the time. The Nuggets allow 47% shooting in 14 of 32 games, or nearly half the time (4-10 record). Denver has failed to shoot better than 41.7% in each of its last three games, which won’t cut it in Golden State.
The Warriors expect to lose one player and gain another for this matchup. Draymond Green is going into the COVID protocol while Andrew Wiggins is expected to be back from it after missing the last four games.
Green had 19 assists against Denver in the last meeting between these teams in April. However, Wiggins scored 27 points in Boston in his last appearance to help the Warriors win 111-107. Of the team’s 27 wins, only four have been by fewer than seven points. Curry has scored at least 30 points in his last four games and the Warriors are 12-1 when he does that this season.
The Nuggets are not strong enough on either side of the court to really trust them to beat the Warriors on the road. While Green is a very notable loss, the Warriors still have more than enough to get the cover at home by playing great defense and Curry leading the way in an MVP-caliber season. Take the Warriors to cover for your Tuesday NBA picks.
*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.