- The Denver Nuggets are +155 underdogs against the Portland Trail Blazers.
- Both games have been defined by bench performances.
- The Blazers are favored by more than a home team normally would be.
LAS VEGAS - The Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers have played two excellent games of basketball, and each has come out on top in one of them.
Their series is tied 1-1, and the venue now shifts to Portland, where the Blazers will look to utilize their stolen home court advantage.
Given that they are at home, it is perhaps not a huge surprise that Portland is favored on the moneyline.
Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers Moneyline
- Denver Nuggets +155
- Portland Trail Blazers -175
The Blazers’ -175 odds are a bit steep for a matchup that the online sportsbooks see as even, however - implying that the sportsbooks think that Portland is a bit better than Denver even without home court.
This holds up on the spread as well, where the Blazers are a bit more favored than a home team would be in an even matchup.
Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers Spread
- Denver Nuggets +4.0 (-110)
- Portland Trail Blazers -4.0 (-110)
Normally, home court advantage is worth about 2.5-3.0 points on the spread. The fact that Portland is -4.0 speaks to them having some other advantage - as the sportsbooks see it, at least.
That advantage might be bench-related. In Game 2, Paul Millsap dominated off the bench for the Nuggets, putting up 15 points in less than 15 minutes, and made the difference for Denver.
In Game 1, however, the bench advantage went to Portland, as Carmelo Anthony and Anfernee Simons went off for more than 30 points combined off the bench.
Denver coach Mike Malone was confident in the bench’s ability to prevent a Game 1 situation from happening again, noting that it wasn’t just scoring off the bench that won Denver the game - it was defense.
“The bench made shots ... but our bench also defended much better,” said Malone. “You go back to Game 1 ... I thought the guys that won them the game in Game 1 were Carmelo Anthony and Anfernee Simons. We defended their bench much better (in Game 2).”
If Malone is right, it would mean that Denver might have found their key to unlocking this series. If he’s wrong, then it could spell disaster for Denver - and prove the online sportsbooks right in favoring Portland.