Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers – NBA, June 3, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| June 3, 2021 6:21 am PDT

The Nuggets battle the Trail Blazers at the Moda Center tonight, knowing a win in game six will wrap up the series. Speaking with many friends and colleagues within the industry at the beginning of the playoffs, this was always the tie that everyone thought was the hardest to predict, and it appears this has been the case, given how close the series has been so far.

This was highlighted in game five, with the series locked at two apiece; game five was the closest of the tie so far as nothing could separate the teams at the end of regular time. However, even a record-breaking 55-points from Damian Lillard couldn’t prevent the Trail Blazers from losing the match in the second period of overtime.

It will be interesting to see how both teams have recovered from that grueling match that must have indeed taken a lot out of both of them.

These two teams have alternated wins over the previous four games played at the Moda Center between them, and should that continue tonight, it will be the end of the series with the Nuggets claiming victory four to two.

Here are the game odds, my team analysis, and betting prediction.

Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers Odds

Nuggets +5-110
Trail Blazers -5-110
Nuggets To Win+176
Trail Blazers To Win-200
Over 227.5 Points-110
Under 227.5 Points-110

I find it fascinating how much the betting has swung between each game in this series, with the bookmakers putting a lot of emphasis on home-court advantage. The home team on the day has been the betting favorite for all five games so far, and despite the Nuggets leading the series, this hasn’t changed for game six.

However, the points total has remained consistent throughout, and the bookmakers appear to have not learned their lesson here. I say this because four of the five games in the series have gone over the points total, and yet the bookmakers have refrained from increasing it.

Nuggets on the Brink

The Nuggets are on the brink of another Western Conference semi-final, and history is on their side tonight, having won game six on both occasions in last year’s playoffs. They beat the Jazz in round one, which tied the series, which they went on to win, and then they beat the Clippers to again tie that series which they won.

However, they desperately underperformed in their previous game in Portland, posting a score of 95-points on their way to a 20-point loss. As the scoreline would suggest, their shooting was off that night as they went for 34% from the field goal range and 29% from the three-point range.

After such a demanding fifth game, the Nuggets are likely to rely upon the energy and enthusiasm of the Argentinian Facundo Campazzo, who has pushed his teammates throughout the season and shown his worth in his rookie season.

Here are the latest betting trends for Denver:

Bet Type Trend
Total Five of their last six games have gone over the betting total.
SU Denver has won two-thirds of their previous 18 matches.
ATS They have lost six of their last nine games against Portland.
SU The Nuggets have won eight and lost four of their previous 12 matches with the Trail Blazers.
Total The total has gone under in 14 of their last 20 games on the road.
Total Seven of their previous ten visits to Portland has seen the points total go over.
SU Denver is 13-7 in their last 20 matches against Western Conference opposition.
ATS They have won all of their previous five games played on a Thursday.

Many of these stats contradict, but what you can’t deny is that the Nuggets come into this game in good form.

One of Denver’s biggest arsenal in attack has been their offensive rebounding which the Trail Blazers have struggled to deal with. If they continue this tonight, you have to feel they will score a lot more than they did on their last visit to Portland.

They have also worked the ball well around the court, which has led to many assists in the series.

Therefore, as you can see, the fundamentals of their offensive game have been good, and it is likely to come down to their shooting tonight.

Their defense hasn’t been the best so far, but the emphasis for both teams in this series has been on attack, and I can’t see that changing here tonight.

Much will also depend on Nikola Jokic, who could well be on his way to picking up the MVP award this season. He has posted scores of 34, 38, 36, and 38 in this series. However, his last visit to Portland wasn’t so successful, and he scored a messily 16-points. He will want to put this right as his talent and commitment to the Nuggets are undeniable.

The Nuggets will miss trio Barton, Murray, and Dozier all through injury.

Trailing the Series

As Portland trail the series, they know the equation is simple for them; anything other than a win tonight will end their season. They came so close to being the ones to take the lead into game six, and you wonder what impact that will have them. Players like Lillard will be wondering what more he can do to inspire his team to victory after scoring a record-breaking 55-points in the last game.

However, they will be encouraged by an excellent home record recently that has seen them lose only one of their previous six games. They also know that game six has been kind to them over the past few years as they have won the last three matches. The most recent of those came against tonight’s opponents, which was only a couple of years ago and could well still be in the minds of both teams.

Here are the latest betting trends for Portland:

Bet Type Trend
Total Five of their previous six matches have gone over the betting total.
SU Portland is 12-5 in their last 17 games.
Total Only one of their previous six games against Denver has failed to go over the points total.
SU They have won two-thirds of their last 12 games against teams from the west coast.
ATS The Trail Blazers have won seven of their previous ten games they entered as the betting favorite.
ATS Portland is 14-6 in their last 20 matches played at home on a Thursday.

These trends strongly suggest this will be a high-scoring game and that the Trail Blazers will cover the handicap.

Portland has most certainly shot much better than Denver in this series, and their three-point shooting has been amongst the best in the playoffs so far, as has their shooting from the free-throw line.

This has meant they are averaging a mightily impressive 120-points per game.

They have also used the ball well and tried to dictate the pace of the games in this series.

The Trail Blazers’ struggles have come in defense where they aren’t doing enough right now. As they are losing the rebounding battle, they will need to start making more steals, which will lead to more possession. We already know they are using the ball well, so if they see more of it, it will undoubtedly lead to victory.

They also need to remain better disciplined and not lose their shape as often as they have been.

Portland will miss Collins tonight, who is out for the season with an ankle injury. 

Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers Pick

Pick
  • Over 227.5 Points
    -110

This is such an intriguing matchup that has so many different permutations. The Nuggets win if their shooting is on point, and for the Trail Blazers, the focus will be on how their defense performs. Like all of the games in this series, this is another challenging game to predict.

However, what we have learned from the games in this series is that both teams won’t change the way they play, and they will both put the emphasis on attack. That has been highlighted by the fact that the combined average score in this series is 239-points. With that being said, I have to choose over the betting total here.

As previously mentioned, the bookmakers haven’t learned their lesson in this series as four of the five games have gone over the points total. Yes, the total is the highest in the series, but it isn’t any higher (it’s the same as games three and four).

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