Oklahoma City Thunder vs Denver Nuggets

 

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder will travel to the Ball Arena on Tuesday night to take on the Denver Nuggets in a divisional battle. The Thunder are sitting at 6-6 with a 5-1 record on the road this season and are coming off a 127-125 overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls. The Nuggets are sitting at 6-7 with a 3-5 conference record and are coming off a 109-105 loss to the Utah Jazz. This will be the first time these two teams will face off this season but Denver won two of the three games against one another last season, including the one matchup inside the NBA Bubble.

The offenses will be the difference-maker in this game as they are pretty even on the defensive side of the floor this season. Let’s take a deeper dive into the matchup to decide where we should be placing our wagers for this game.

Smooth Like Shai

The Thunder have been depending on shooting guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to carry the offensive load in the beginning stages of the season. He is averaging 21.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 0.4 blocks, and a steal in 33.9 minutes per game. He is continuing to improve his shooting as he is 50.8 percent from the floor, 37.3 percent from beyond the arc, and 77.9 percent from the free-throw line. In the game against the Bulls, Gilgeous-Alexander played 44 minutes and finished with 33 points, five rebounds, 10 assists, and a steal. If he can continue improving his shooting, the Thunder will be in a better position.

The Denver Nuggets have been below-average on the defensive side of the ball this season as they are the 21st-ranked defense by giving up 112.5 points per game. In their last game against the Jazz, they allowed 109 points on 39-of-76 (51.3 percent) from the floor, 15-of-37 (40.5 percent) from deep, and 28 free-throw attempts. They need to continue defending the three-point shot at a high clip if they want to maintain their solid start.

Joke’s on You

The Denver Nuggets have been depending on star center Nikola Jokic to lead the offense. He is averaging 25 points, 11.4 rebounds, 10.3 assists, and 1.9 steals in 35.5 minutes per game. He is shooting well as he is 57.3 percent from the floor, 38.6 percent from beyond the arc, and 84.6 percent from the charity stripe. In his last game against the Jazz, Jokic played 40 minutes and finished with 35 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists, a block, two steals, and six turnovers. If he can clean up his sloppy play, he could be in the conversation for the MVP this season.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have been an average defense to begin the season as they are averaging 112.1 points given up, which is the 18th best in the league. In their last game against the Bulls, they allowed 125 points on 43-of-91 (47.3 percent) from the floor, 21-of-46 (45.7 percent) from beyond the arc, and 25 free-throw attempts. If they can figure out how to make these shooters uncomfortable from distance, they will be able to climb up the defensive rankings.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

The Oklahoma City Thunder should be able to come into Denver and be able to cover the spread here and possibly win outright. The Thunder are 5-1 on the road this season and Denver is struggling at the beginning stages of the regular season. Oklahoma City covers on the road while Denver has been struggling ATS wise as of late. Go with the Thunder to be able to cover this spread in this game.

Prediction:
Oklahoma City +10.5

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

The offenses are going to need to score some points in this matchup. Oklahoma City is averaging 106 points per game on 44.8 percent shooting while Denver is averaging 115.4 points per game on 48.3 percent shooting.  The over has hit in the last five road games for the Thunder against teams with a losing home record. The over has also hit in 12 of the last 16 games for the Nuggets. Go with the OVER in this game.

Prediction:
Over 219.5