The Nuggets were the top team in the West for a good portion of the 2018/19 regular season but they still seem like an iffy bet in the April 13th NBA free pick. Denver is a -5.5 home favorite on Saturday night, but a slight majority of bettors like the postseason experience of Gregg Popovich and the Spurs. Does Denver dominate in their return to the playoffs, or could they be a little too amped up in this one?
San Antonio Has Reason to Be Confident Here
The Spurs are a +220 bet to win this series compared to -270 for the Nuggets. It makes sense, Denver was able to capture the #2 seed during the regular season but San Antonio still played them tough. The Spurs won two meetings vs. Denver this year outright and fell by just 3 points in one trip to the Pepsi Center. The most recent meeting was a 113-95 Nuggets win but the Spurs were playing in a back-to-back.
The Spurs have some momentum going heading into the playoffs which is why taking the points doesn’t seem like a bad wager in the April 13th NBA free pick. San Antonio held consecutive opponents to under 95 points to wind down the year and overall won 5 of their last 7. San Antonio has also been in the playoffs every year now since 1997. Even though they fell 4-1 to the Warriors last season, this is a team that will not be intimidated in front of the Denver crowd especially with veterans such as Lamarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan guiding the way. San Antonio went just 16-25 going away this season, but is 5-2-1 ATS their last 8 on the road.
Does Denver’s Inexperience Hurt Them Here?
While San Antonio has made the postseason for over 20 years straight, Denver is in a relatively new spot with their first appearance since 2013. The Nuggets have high hopes for this playoffs, but are still +1800 to win the title. Denver hasn’t gotten out of the first round since 2009 but their 54-28 record was fourth best in the league. Denver will be in a tough spot on Saturday as they’ve been held to under 110 points in 7 of the last 10. Combined with the Spurs strong defense to close out the year the O/U for game 1 is just 211.
One of the reasons the Nuggets could absolutely blow the doors off this game like they did in a 28 point win over the Spurs on April 3rd is Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets big man had a 20/11/9 night and is coming off a 29 point, 14 rebound outing in his regular season finale vs. Minnesota. Jamal Murray is an experienced ball handler that can break the Spurs defense and Denver has a slew of veteran role players such as Paul Millsap, Mason Plumlee, and Gary Harris that could be the difference makers in this series. How nervous does the team come out in game 1 though?
April 13th NBA Free Pick Betting
Jokic is great for sure, but he also has a tendency to be enigmatic at times. There’s no better coach that can draw up a game plan to aggravate somebody like Popovich. DeRozan wants to make a huge impact with his new team and Aldridge has the experience to not let the moment rattle him. It’s just another game for Spurs vets like Rudy Gay and Patty Mills and the Spurs should flirt with the outright win in this one.
NBA Free Pick: San Antonio Spurs +5.5