NBA Betting: Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors

NBA Betting:  Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors

Game 3 of this Western Conference playoff series pits the Denver Nuggets against the hometown Golden State Warriors. Denver got the series off to a winning start at home but looked awful in the second game leaving this series deadlocked at a game apiece. Golden State got an outstanding performance from Stephen Curry in Game 2 but he’s listed as a ‘game time decision’ for the third game with an injured ankle. In reality, most reports have him listed as ‘probable’ for tonight’s game. Curry has had major surgery on his sore ankle and the tendency has been to be very careful with it but every indication is that he’ll play tonight.

Golden State will struggle to replace forward David Lee who is out for the year with a hip injury. Lee is a tough guy to replace in a finesse oriented Warriors’ lineup–Golden State relied on him for not only inside scoring but rebounding and as a defense presence ‘in the paint’. The Golden State performance in Game 2 demonstrated a common reaction to a major injury. The rest of the team steps up in the short term before the absence becomes evident in the long term. Tactically, the absence of Lee makes a bad matchup for Golden State even worse. At one point, the Warriors were a team that lived and died at an ‘uptempo’ pace. Now they’ve got themselves into a position where they have no real option but to play that way–but that’s a problem since Denver does it better. In games with a total of 210 or greater the Nuggets are a perfect 23-0 SU this season going 19-4 against the spread. Golden State, on the other hand, is 2-9 SU and ATS in games with a total of 210 or higher.

Most significantly, perhaps, is the psychological component of this game. Betting on the higher seeded team with home court advantage in Game 3 when the series is tied 1-1 is a long term winning strategy. You’re getting the superior team coming off of a disappointing effort on their home court–often getting points or at the very least available at a reasonable price. On the other side of the equation, the lower seeded team often has trouble recapturing the intensity that allowed them to win on the road. This phenomena makes the Nuggets the play here.