Trail Blazers (+3.5) @ Nuggets (219.5)
Pick: Trail Blazers +3.5
Had the Rockets not fouled with three seconds left down four Tuesday night, teams down 0-1 in the Conference Semifinals this year would be 3-0 ATS in Game 2. Granted, Golden State looked to be the correct side for most of the game, but we were on the Rockets with the points so it would have been nice to sneak through the backdoor.
We discussed Tuesday that we want to back teams down 0-1 ATS in Game 2s and that’s the deficit facing the Trail Blazers entering Wednesday night. While Golden State and Houston might not go as long as many expected, Portland and Denver should at least get to a sixth game. Having said that, I continue to be skeptical of Denver.
The Nuggets tried hard to give away the seventh game against San Antonio and who knows what would have happened if the Spurs remembered to foul in the closing seconds? After Monday’s 121-113 victory against Portland, Denver is now 4-4 ATS in the playoffs and they’ve been as inconsistent as that record indicates. The Nuggets’ average margin of victory in the Spurs series was a shade over 11 points, and their average margin of defeat in their three losses to San Antonio was a tick below 11 points. Only once so far in their eight playoff games have the Nuggets covered back-to-back games. Despite 37 points, nine rebounds and six assists from Nikola Jokic on Monday, Damian Lillard is still the best player in this series and I still lean to Portland on the series money line. The Trail Blazers get even here and the Nuggets inconsistencies continue.