The Clippers have won two games in a row heading into the January 12th NBA free betting pick. A third straight victory may be a bit tougher though as LAC travels to Denver, where they have lost the last two by a combined 244 to 196. Of course, it’s a different Los Angeles team this season, is that enough to pull the trigger on Doc Rivers’ team as a -1 road favorite?
Should L.A. Be Favored Without George?
The Clippers will be without Paul George for the second straight game as he sits with a hamstring injury. LA got the win Friday without their offseason acquisition, but just 109-100 against Golden State at home and as -14.5 favorites. Obviously LA still has a great chance in the January 12th NBA free betting pick with Kawhi Leonard on the floor. Leonard had 36 points vs. the Warriors but was also on the injury list (Q-knee).
The Clippers are on a 2-game win streak, but their other victory besides beating the hapless Warriors was taking down the equally hapless Knicks. Prior to that L.A. got completely destroyed 140-114 by Memphis. The Grizzlies shot 51% from the floor and 46% from three vs. the Clippers’ top 10 shooting defense. That gives the Nuggets hope for Sunday night.
Another reason Denver should be amped for this matchup is because they absolutely owned L.A. at the Pepsi Center last season, winning 121-100 in January and 123-96 last February 24th. The Nuggets also took one of the meetings in L.A. 107-98. The Clippers have updated some of their roster, but L.A. still has the same coach and system.
Does Denver Have the Value Sunday Night?
The winner of this matchup will be in 2nd place in the Western Conference. Denver seems like a strange underdog in this tilt because of their dominance over the Clippers last season and for the fact that they are playing at the Pepsi Center where the Nuggets have gone 15-5 on the year.
Denver will still have their naysayers mostly because they are so prone to lay an egg as of late. That includes a 114-128 loss to Washington as -13 favorites on January 4th and another 103-111 home loss to Cleveland Saturday with a spread of DEN -13.5.
The back-to-back definitely doesn’t do Denver any favors on Sunday night. Will Barton logged 38 minutes, Jamal Murray 35, and Nikola Jokic 34 in the loss to the Cavaliers. Murray being fatigued could be a major issue for Denver as he had a tough matchup anyways vs. Patrick Beverley and L.A’s #11 ranked defense vs. the PG. Jokic has averaged 20 points and 15 rebounds the last two vs. the Clippers.
January 12th NBA Free Betting Pick
The public is split in this one with a slight 52% liking the visiting Clippers. Denver is at a disadvantage playing on leg two of the back-to-back, but they were obviously in ‘look ahead’ mode Saturday vs. Cleveland. The Clippers were just so bad last year at the Pepsi Center that even a new face in Leonard is going to be a tough turnaround.
Free Pick: Denver Nuggets +1