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Nets vs Nuggets Picks and Odds

Sam Cox

by Sam Cox in NBA Basketball

May 8, 2021 · 6:17 AM PDT

Nikola Jokic moving past defender in paint
MVP favorite Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets host the Brooklyn Nets Saturday night. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
  • The Brooklyn Nets and Denver Nuggets matchup on May 8th
  • Both teams have had some disappointing results of late, with the Nets on a four-game losing streak
  • Read below for the latest odds, betting preview and a pick

A Friday night loss to the Utah Jazz has made it two losses in three games for the Denver Nuggets. Nikola Jokic and co have slipped to the four seed in the Western Conference, currently lining them up for a first-round matchup with Dallas.

Brooklyn have lost their last four. The Nets are now third in the East, facing the prospect of Miami or Boston in the first round, followed by the Bucks and Sixers.

Despite Brookyn’s struggles of late, the odds favor Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to topple to the soon-to-be MVP. Denver is also on the second night of a back-to-back.

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Nets vs Nuggets Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total at FanDuel
Brooklyn Nets -4 (-110) -174 Over 231 (-110)
Denver Nuggets +4 (-110) +146 Under 231 (-110)

Odds as of May 08

Nets Missing Harden

James Harden is nearing a return, but he’s still sidelined for Saturday’s game. Brooklyn has missed the former MVP desperately. They are 15th in net rating over the last 10 games, and while their recent schedule has been tough, Harden’s playmaking and scoring has been sorely missed. With their defense sitting in the bottom 10 in the Association, they need to be a league-leading offense to topple elite opponents.

They were blown out by Portland. Milwaukee recorded two narrow wins, and Dallas got the better of them a couple of days ago. Being 11th in offense, as the Nets are over the last 10 games, is not good enough. This is a particular challenge against a Nuggets team which is performing admirably on the defensive end, sitting sixth in defensive rating over the last 15.

Harden had morphed into a point guard. He was assisting as much as he ever had before, allowing Durant and Irving to play off-ball. They are missing a player of his all-round offensive talent, and they are obviously an easier team to slow down in his absence.

An out-of-character, inefficient game from Durant, as we saw against the Mavericks, leaves the Nets relying on Landry Shamet, Blake Griffin and others to hit shots. Such losses can happen to any team, but it’s remarkable to see this Brooklyn squad look slightly short of firepower. They need their two stars to be at their brilliant best against Denver.

Impressive Nuggets

What the Nuggets have done without Jamal Murray is remarkable. They are sixth in net rating since Murray’s injury, and most of that run has been without Will Barton and Monte Morris, too.

This isn’t just MVP stuff from Jokic. Michael Porter Jr is hitting over 50% from three of this span, proving an unguardable force as a shooter and cutter. Aaron Gordon’s fit is seamless on the offensive end, and he’s given them a boost defensively.

Like Brooklyn, the margin for error has decreased with the injuries. Yet, the loss to the Jazz on Friday was just one of those games. Bojan Bogdanovic getting white-hot from deep wasn’t something Denver could do much about. Their 6-4 record on the second night of back-to-backs could be a factor for some bettors here, but there’s not a huge amount to read into it. There have been minimal signs of fatigue from their core players, and where others might rest in such circumstances, Jokic, Gordon and Porter should all play.

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Back The Nuggets

Gordon is potentially a great matchup for Durant. Brooklyn has no such answer for Jokic. The MVP favorite had another majestic game on Friday, putting up 13 dimes and 24 points. Even without Murray, this is a high-powered Nuggets offense, and a group which can go toe-to-toe with Durant and Irving.

The loss against Utah is a distraction from how good the Nuggets have been lately. Brooklyn is looking like a team waiting for the postseason – there’s value backing Denver on the moneyline here.

Pick: Denver Nuggets moneyline (+146)

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