- The Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers are due to play in the early game on Saturday
- Positive COVID-19 tests have left the Sixers with a depleted roster
- Get the odds, betting preview and a pick below
The Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers are scheduled to matchup on Saturday, January 9.
At the time of writing, it is unclear whether the game will go ahead after Philadelphia’s Seth Curry and an unknown staff member tested positive for COVID-19. A significant list of Sixers players, including Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris, were listed as questionable on Friday due to contact tracing.
If this game is played on Saturday, the Nuggets will be comfortable favorites despite a disappointing 3-5 start to the year. Philly was blown out in their one game so far this season without Embiid – Doc Rivers will be forced to go deep into his bench to build a rotation around Ben Simmons.
Denver Nuggets vs Philadelphia 76ers Odds
|Denver Nuggets||-5.5 (-114)||-235||O 222 (-110)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||+5.5 (-105)||+194||U 222 (-110)|
Odds taken on Jan 9th from FanDuel
Nuggets’ Bubble Hangover
Hoping to take another leap after a trip to the Western Conference Finals in the Orlando bubble, the Denver Nuggets are still searching for rhythm. The loss of Jerami Grant has hurt a team which was already vulnerable on the defensive end. Denver is a one-way team at this point – they are second in offensive rating and 28th on the other side of the ball.
A dramatic loss to the Mavericks was disappointing, but losing to a Luka Doncic-led Dallas is no crisis. Consecutive wins over the weakened Timberwolves before that are hardly revealing, either. Losing twice to the Kings, falling to the Suns and being flattened by the Clippers are more concerning.
Qualifiers can be placed on most of Denver’s games. They beat a Rockets team that was depleted by COVID-19, and they face a similar situation on Saturday. It hasn’t been the easiest schedule, and Jamal Murray’s slow start was clearly a major factor in their early losses, but the defensive issues are confirming what was a legitimate worry with this roster.
Denver’s Individual Struggles
Paul Millsap showed signs of ageing in the Orlando bubble. While he had moments of effectiveness on both ends, there were plenty of situations where he looked to have lost a step or two. Such instances have been prevalent in the opening games of the new season – Millsap is shooting the ball well (44% from three), but his impact on the team defensively is non-existent. Denver has a 122.8 defensive rating with Millsap on the court, contributing to a -6.6 net rating on the season.
JaMychal Green is a solid rotation player, though he’s not the same defensive caliber as Grant. Gary Harris is still a plus on the defensive end, but his offensive woes have continued. Harris is shooting 13.8% from three and scoring just 8.9 points per game in the third-most minutes on the club.
Opponents are shooting almost 40% from three. Denver have been the victims of some hot shooting nights, but this is also representative of a defense that gets pulled all over the floor.
The Sixers are going to be far from full strength. The offense is going to be all about Ben Simmons – it will be fascinating how the Nuggets deal with Simmons. There is no obvious physical matchup for him.
Leave It Late
Writing this preview on Saturday morning, it’s impossible to make any betting decision because of the uncertainty over who will be available and if the game will even go ahead.
There’s unlikely to be value on Denver’s moneyline. With how they’ve defended, and the Sixers likely to push the pace with Simmons running the offense, the over is going to be worth considering anywhere up to about 235.
Leave it as late as possible to place a wager on this one. Consider taking the Sixers to cover if they have shooters to surround Simmons.
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