There are two ways to look at the April 18th NBA free pick in what is Game 3 in the series between the Nuggets and Spurs. Does San Antonio have the upper hand after taking Game 1 and stealing home court advantage or does Denver come into AT&T Center hot after essentially salvaging their season after a 19 point comeback win in Game 2? The line has jumped from SAS -2 to the Spurs being favored by -4.5 on Thursday. Is this a prime spot for Denver though?
Can Denver Thrive on the Road in Game 3?
The Nuggets can be forgiven for looking a bit shaky through the first two games of their Western Conference playoff series. After all, it’s the first time Denver has been in the postseason since 2013 up against the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich who has been to the playoffs 21 years in a row, winning 5 titles. Experience was the key in Game 1 as San Antonio pulled out a 96-101 win. Did talent rise to the top in Game 2 whoever as the Nuggets outscored the Spurs 39-23 in the 4th to tie up the series at 1-1?
Of course more questions remain heading into the April 18th NBA free pick. Front and center is how Denver will respond on the road? San Antonio was 32-9 on their own court this season. The Nuggets do have a diverse attack that has seen four different players score 20+ points through the first two games of the series. Nikola Jokic had just 10 points in Game 1, but his 21/13 outing in Game 2 provides optimism for Denver backers. Gary Harris and Jamal Murray also did a solid job of exploiting the San Antonio back court on Tuesday combining for 47 points.
Will the San Antonio Experience Be the Key In This One?
The Nuggets so far have fought through the rustiness of a 5-year playoff absence but their next challenge is going on the road to face a hostile postseason crowd. The Spurs were one of the best team’s in the NBA this season and that was without the amped up emotions of a playoff atmosphere. These two teams split their regular season series 2-2 with both squads winning on their own court. San Antonio’s wins were 111-103 in late December and 104-103 in early March.
San Antonio has regained the home court advantage in this series and is a significant favorite to go up 2-1 as they are -4.5 favorites Thursday. Lamarcus Aldridge has had nothing more than an OK series thus far, averaging 19.5 points and 8 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan should be in line for a big night at the AT&T Center as he went for 31 points last game in Denver. The Spurs don’t have a lot of third tier scoring options though as the next highest point total in the two games has been Derrick White’s 17.
April 18th NBA Free Pick Betting
The Nuggets were just 20-21 on the road this season but believe it or not they may have less pressure on them going away as underdogs tonight. Murray had a 21 point 4th quarter Tuesday which likely won’t be replicated, but the Nuggets still have a bevy of talent to stay in contention in this one. The Spurs experience is an asset, but Denver has momentum.
NBA Free Pick: Denver Nuggets +4.5