Denver Nuggets vs. Detroit Pistons – NBA, May 14, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| May 14, 2021 6:32 am PDT

The Nuggets travel to Detroit to take on the Pistons in this cross-conference matchup. This is only one of a small handful of games left in the regular season that has some meaning behind it, and therefore it could be a good one.

Denver still has a chance of dislodging the Clippers from the third spot in the west and thus must win their remaining two regular-season games.

For Detroit, it’s all about playing for pride, and it has been for some time now. They still have a chance of avoiding the wooden spoon in the Eastern Conference, and a win here would put them level with the Magic, who have a tough assignment battling the 76ers.

This is a game that the home team has dominated on the day as they have won the last six meetings between them. Denver has won the previous two, with the most recent of those victories coming only a month ago.

That match was a thrilling 253-point game in which the Nuggets won by 15-points. However, Detroit will be confident of causing an upset tonight as they have beaten the Nuggets in three of the last four matches played at the Little Caesars Arena.

The Pistons will need to be wary of the Nugget’s fast starts, though, as they have averaged six more first-half points than the Pistons in their previous ten encounters.

Let’s look at the betting trends for each team, and then I will provide my Nuggets vs. Pistons betting prediction.

Nuggets vs. Pistons Odds

Nuggets -9.5-110
Pistons +9.5-110
Nuggets To Win-455
Pistons To Win+375
Over 221.5 Points-110
Under 221.5 Points-110

After the contrasting season these two teams have had, it is easy to see why the spread is so big. When they last met, the spread was 11.5 points.

However, that game was played in Denver, and the Pistons have performed much better at home against the Nuggets recently.

Although they put on a highly entertaining, free-scoring match last time out, that game indeed went against the trend between these, and therefore the points total looks high.

Especially seen as only three of the Pistons’ 14 home games against teams from the west coast have gone over the betting total.

The Nuggets have an excellent record of 19-5 in the 24 games they have been installed as favorites against Eastern Conference opposition.

Nuggets Latest

The Nuggets appear to have put their mini blip behind them where they lost three in four games by winning their last two games back-to-back.

While losing three in four games is bad for any team, especially one of the caliber of the Nuggets, it has to be highlighted these defeats came against the Lakers, Jazz, and the Nets.

Their form on the road has been excellent as they have won 21 of their 34 away fixtures this season. This includes winning the previous two against the Hornets and the Timberwolves.

The win over the Hornets was a significant one as it secured them home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

However, they haven’t won three games in a row on the road since the middle of March, so perhaps the signs of a Pistons win look better than many would think.

Here are the latest betting trends for Denver:

  • They have lost four of their last six games against the spread.
  • Denver is 12-4 in their previous 16 matches.
  • The Nuggets have only won three of their last nine games against the spread when facing the Pistons.
  • They have won five of their previous seven matches against Detroit.
  • The total has gone under in 12 of their last 16 games on the road.
  • They have only won on four of their previous 20 visits to Detroit.
  • Four of their last five matches against Eastern Conference opposition have gone over the betting total.
  • Denver has only lost one of their previous eight games against the spread when facing a team in the Central Division.

The data is a little all over the place here, but the biggest thing I took away from it was that the Nuggets hadn’t done well against the spread when facing the Pistons, and they detest playing in Detroit, looking at their shocking record.

The Nuggets have a great offense driven by one of the highest field goal percentages in the league this season. They have also rebounded well in attack, which has made for a lethal combination.

Denver moves the ball well around the court, which is why they have made so many assists this season.

However, they haven’t always performed as well on the road and have averaged a couple of points fewer per game. I find this strange as their excellent field goal percentage is even better on their travels.

However, they haven’t rebounded as well on the road this season which could be the telling factor.

Their defense is good despite the fact they are allowing their opponents far too much time and space in and around the paint.

Denver’s have a few players missing tonight, and they include Barton, Murray, and Dozier, while Morris remains questionable to play.

Pistons Latest

The Pistons have only won one of their last eight, and therefore it’s easy to see why they sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Their only win came over the Grizzlies a week ago, and it snapped a four-game skid.

That game was the only time they have scored over 110-points in their previous five matches, so it’s clear to see where their problem lies.

Bizarrely, their form at home has been the exact opposite of the Nuggets away form as they have won 13 and lost 21 of their 34 home fixtures.

The win over Memphis was their only home victory in their previous six matches played in Detroit.

Given they only played one team inside the top five of any conference during that spell, it doesn’t bode well for them tonight facing a team of the Nuggets capabilities.

Here are the latest betting trends for Detroit:

  • The Pistons have lost six of their previous eight matches against the spread.
  • Four of their last five games have gone under the betting total.
  • Only two of their previous six matches against the Nuggets have failed to go over the points total.
  • The total has gone under in five of their last seven games against teams from the west coast.
  • Detroit is 2-6-1 in their previous nine matches against teams based in the Northwest Division.

The Pistons are losing by some wide margins right now, which is being caused by their failing attack.

Therefore, it is no surprise to see they have one of the worst offenses in the NBA this season, averaging a messily 106-points per game.

They have been known to shoot well from a distance on occasions, but this doesn’t happen often enough. It is probably because they are having so much practice as they fall behind in matches regularly.

Their offense also isn’t being helped by the high number of turnovers they are making each game.

Their defense is much better and gives them something to build upon for next season. This is perhaps why coach Casey has recently signed a contract extension as he sees the team’s potential. This is despite them allowing their opponents to score at 47% from the field goal range.

They have defended much better at home this season, conceding on average four fewer points per game. This almost makes them one of the top five home defenses in the league, which will probably shock most given their position in the standings.

However, there are still things to work on in defense, such as their rebounding, which is amongst the worst in the NBA right now.

They also need to be better disciplined and not live up to their reputation as the NBA’s bad boys as to many times this season, they have had key players foul out, which has seen them fall short right at the death.

The Pistons are plagued with injuries right now, and it’s possibly easier to list the names of those that are fit to play than those that aren’t.

They will be without Ellington, Joseph, Plumlee, Grant, McGruder, Jackson, Smith Junior, and Stewart. There are also question marks over Diallo, who has recently been in quarantine.

Nuggets vs. Pistons Pick

  • Nuggets -9.5

Although the Pistons are by no means a great team, I don’t see a team bottom of the Eastern Conference when I look at their stats this season.

If they were fully fit, I certainly believe they would cover the handicap here, especially given their fantastic record at home against the Nuggets.

But the fact is they don’t, and therefore I see another miserable night for them this evening. Take the Nuggets minus the handicap here.