San Antonio Spurs vs. Denver Nuggets – NBA, April 7, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| April 7, 2021 7:34 am PDT

The Spurs travel to Denver to face the Nuggets at the Ball Arena in this Western Conference matchup. San Antonio has very little chance of making the automatic playoff positions, so it is all about cementing their pre-playoff spot, which is looking likely. The Nuggets have their automatic playoff spot pretty much assured, so they will be focusing on finishing as high in the standings as possible to receive a more straightforward game in the first round.

The home team has won this fixture on five of the previous six occasions it has been played, which is good news for the Nuggets. However, they were comfortably beaten when they last met back in January, so it won’t be easy.

Denver can have no excuses either as they came into that game in great form as they do tonight. Both teams performed well that night, and their shooting stats from all over the court was especially an area that excelled. However, the Spurs know they are up against it tonight as they have only won once on their travels to Denver over their previous nine attempts.

Although the Nuggets have averaged more points than the Spurs in their last ten encounters, it’s the Spurs who have averaged more first-half points, so look for them to start quickly tonight.

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

Spurs vs. Nuggets Odds

Spurs +6.5-110
Nuggets -6.5+220
Spurs to Win+220
Nuggets To Win-250
Over 223.5 Points-110
Under 223.5 Points-110

The spread looks about what I expected it to be, perhaps a point higher but nothing out of the ordinary. The points total is similar to the one set when they last met in January, and they comfortably covered that total on that occasion. These offenses are combining to average more than the total, so this could offer the most value tonight.

Spurs Analysis

The Spurs come into this game in very poor form, having only won two of their previous ten matches. Excluding their 24-point defeat to the Cavaliers last time out, they had been playing some decent basketball as they followed up a comfortable win over the Kings with two narrow overtime defeats against the Hawks and the Pacers. I believe these games took their toll on them, which is why they performed so badly against Cleveland.

San Antonio has been one of the best teams on the road in the west this season, having won 12 and lost seven of their 19 road trips. Although they lost comprehensively against the Bucks in their last away fixture, they have won the previous three. Therefore although they haven’t played great recently, they have maintained their good form on the road.

Here are the latest betting trends for San Antonio:

  • They have only won one of their last five games against the spread.
  • Five of their previous six matches have gone over the betting total.
  • The Spurs have lost five of their last seven games against the Nuggets.
  • San Antonio has won four of their previous five matches against the spread on the road.
  • They have only won one of their last six matches against the spread when battling against teams from the Western Conference.
  • Five of their previous seven matches against teams based in the Northwest Division have gone under the points total.

This confirms the Spurs’ poor form as of late, but it also highlights the fact that they have been decent on the road.

The Spurs’ offense has been lacking this season as they have only averaged 110-points per game.

However, they use the ball well and don’t make many turnovers. But instead of using this to score more points, they seem to use it as a controlling mechanism to dictate the pace of games.

Their defense has been marginally better but is still sub-standard as they have failed to cover their opponents on most nights and therefore find themselves on the end of some high-scoring stats.

However, they have defended better on the road this season, averaging two fewer points against them per game which could make a hell of a difference tonight.

They are a well-disciplined team that doesn’t give away many personal fouls per game.

When I look at the Spurs stats, I wonder how they are ranked as high as they are as their stats are all very mediocre at best. I think it’s because you generally get an average performance from them across the board on most nights. Therefore, they can exploit teams who have an off night against them, but anyone that delivers and takes the game to them appears to succeed.

The Spurs will miss trio Lyles, Bates-Diop, and Walker tonight. While Murray remains a doubt as he battles his way back from a foot injury.

Nuggets Analysis

The Nuggets are among the best teams in the NBA right now, having won 15 of their previous 18 matches. This includes winning the last six games in a row. The closest any team has got to the Nuggets during these six games is five points, and therefore it could be a tough night for the Spurs.

Denver has a similar home record to that of the Spurs away record, and they are both ranked fourth in the Western Conference this season, which makes for a mouth-watering game tonight. They have won seven of their previous eight games at the Ball Arena, with their only defeat coming against the Pelicans. What was the key to dethroning the Nuggets that night? It was pretty simple really, they outfought them on the boards and made more rebounds. The Nuggets even Tweeted themselves that their key to victory over the Pistons last time out was winning the battle on the boards, so this will be a crucial area of the game tonight.

Here are the latest betting trends for Denver:

  • The Nuggets have won five of their previous six matches against the spread.
  • Four of their last five games against the Spurs have gone over the betting total.
  • All of their previous five matches against Western Conference teams have seen the points total go under.
  • The total has gone under in four of their last five games against teams based in the Southwest Division.
  • Denver is 4-8 against the spread in their previous 12 matches played on a Wednesday.

The stats are all quite contradicting, and therefore, there is very little to go on here

The Nuggets have a fantastic offense this season that has been deadly accurate from all over the court, and therefore, they should enjoy a good night against a team that doesn’t cover their opponents very well. The Spurs will especially find it hard given the Nuggets pass the ball so well and tend to stretch their opponents, which doesn’t take much doing against San Antonio. Therefore, it will be necessary for the Spurs to continue to try and hog the ball and frustrate the Nuggets tonight.

Their defense has also been good despite allowing their opponents to score at a rate of 46% from the field goal range.

The Nuggets only have one doubt for this evening’s game, and that is point guard Murray who has been out with a knee injury.

Spurs vs. Nuggets Pick

Pick
  • Nuggets -6.5
    -110

I believe this is one of the more straightforward games to call in the NBA, as the Spurs have struggled against the better teams this season. They have remained good on the road recently despite their poor form, but their wins have all come against sub-standard teams. The Nuggets have looked unstoppable recently, and they have not eased up when they have got in front, and therefore, I will take them to cover the handicap tonight. They also have a superb record against the Spurs in Denver, which has to count for something.

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