The Los Angeles Clippers will tip-off their season with a home matchup against the Denver Nuggets Wednesday night from the Staples Center. The Nuggets missed the playoffs with a 46-36 record last season, while the Clippers also did not qualify for the playoffs with a 42-40 record. The Clippers won two of three games against the Nuggets last season.
Nuggets Eye Return to Playoffs
The Denver Nuggets enter this season with high expectations after narrowly missing the playoffs last season. They feature a potent offense led by Nikola Jokic. The talented seven-foot center is coming off a spectacular season that saw him average 18.5 points on 50% shooting, and his 10.7 rebounds per game ranked ninth in the NBA. Jokic averaged 19.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in three games against the Clippers last season. The Nuggets feature great offensive depth which includes Garry Harris. The 24-year old shooting guard averaged a career-best 17.5 points on a stellar 48.5% field goal percentage last year. Harris was productive against the Clippers last season, posting an average of 21 points in two games.
The Nuggets are hoping Paul Millsap can stay healthy after only playing in 38 games due to injury last year. The 6-foot-8 power forward averaged 14.6 points and 6.4 rebounds last season. The Nuggets defense was a glaring weakness last season, and it is imperative Millsap stays healthy as he is outstanding defensively. Isaiah Thomas did not suit up in the preseason due to a hip injury, and he will not play in this one. The Nuggets should finally make the playoffs this season after missing out by only one game last season. They averaged a solid 110 points per game last year, good for sixth in the NBA. Denver conceded an average of 108.5 points, pegging them down at 22nd in the NBA.
Clippers Head Into Season with New Look
The Los Angeles Clippers head into this season with a different look. They traded Blake Griffen to the Pistons in last year’s trade deadline, and DeAndre Jordan signed with the Mavericks in the offseason, ending his 10-year tenure with the Clippers. A key player to watch for this season is Danilo Gallinari. The 30-year old small forward has failed to stay healthy in his past few seasons. He averaged 15.3 points in only 21 games played last season. Gallinari averaged a career-high 19.5 points with the Nuggets in the 2015-2016 season. The Clippers made a big splash by trading Austin Rivers to the Wizards in exchange for Marcin Gortat. The 6-foot-11 center averaged 8.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game last year. Gortat is durable, playing in all 82 games in two consecutive seasons. He averaged 12 points and six rebounds in two games against the Nuggets last season.
⏪ Run it back.
Opening Night | Wednesday | 7:30 p.m. pic.twitter.com/r2fQUfrJIQ
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) October 14, 2018
L.A. features Lou Williams who won the sixth man of the year award. The 31-year old shooting guard was the Clippers best player last year, averaging 22.6 points on 43.5% shooting. Overall the Clippers could be in for a tough season, and they will have to exceed expectations to make the playoffs. L.A. averaged 109 points last season, ranking them ninth in the NBA. They conceded an average of 109 points, pegging them 24th in the NBA.
The Los Angeles Clippers are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games.
- 8-21 ATS in their last 29 games against the Northwest division.
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games against the Western Conference.
The Denver Nuggets are:
- 5-2 ATS in their last 7 road games.
- over is 4-0-1 in their last 5 road games.
- over is 12-5 in their last 17 games against the Western Conference.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I am taking the Nuggets in this one. The Nuggets were productive in their three games against the Clippers last season, averaging 119.3 points. They feature a ton of scoring depth with four players that averaged over 15 points per game last season, and they are dangerous from three-point territory.
Furthermore, the Clippers no longer have DeAndre Jordan to anchor the defense, and offensively they don’t have nearly the firepower the Nuggets have. Furthermore, the Nuggets have the decisive rebounding advantage led by Nikola Jokic. Denver averaged 44.5 rebounds per game last season, and they should be near the top of the NBA in rebounding again this season while the Clippers no longer have their leading rebounder DeAndre Jordan.
Prediction: Denver Nuggets -1
Full-Game Total Pick
The over is a strong play in this one. As mentioned the Nuggets averaged 119.3 points against the Clippers last season, and the Clippers averaged a solid 115 points against the Nuggets. Denver will give up points, and opponents shot over 47% from the field against them last year, plus the over is 13-3 in the Clippers’ last 16 games against the Northwest division.
In addition, Denver’s offensive firepower will do their usual damage against a defense that allowed an average of 109 points last season. The over is 23-9-1 in the Nuggets’ last 33 games overall, and I expect the over to convert again in this one.
Prediction: Over 227
Half-Time Side Pick
I am staying with Denver on the first half line. The Nuggets were very productive in the first half last season, averaging a solid 55.4 points, good for seventh in the NBA. Furthermore, the Clippers had the worst first half defense in the entire NBA last season, conceding an average of 56.8 points in the first half.
Prediction: Denver Nuggets PK
Half-Time Total Bet
This game will feature plenty of scoring from start to finish. These two teams combined for 124 points in the first half in their latest meeting last season, and I expect a similar outcome in this one. As mentioned the Nuggets averaged a solid 55.4 points in the first half last season, and the Clippers averaged 55.8 points on their home court in the first half last year.
Prediction: Over 116