Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#563 Oklahoma City Thunder vs.
#564 Denver Nuggets
Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 9:05pm EST
Pepsi Center, Denver
Written by Sporty Jordy



#563 Oklahoma City
#564 Denver


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When and where: December 14, 2019, Pepsi Center, Denver, CO, 9:00 PM ET

A Western Conference tilt between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets takes center stage at the Pepsi Center on Saturday. After an ugly road trip, the Nuggets got back to their winning ways with a 114-99 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. It marked their second win in seven games. Meanwhile, the Thunder had their three-game winning streak snapped in a 94-93 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

Thunder’s winning streak gets busted

The month of December has been good to the Thunder.

They are 4-2 so far with marquee wins over the Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz. A disappointing one-point loss to the Kings on Wednesday put an end to their three-game winning streak.

They’d love to start another streak when heading on the road to take on the Nuggets.

The location will be their biggest issue. Despite the Nuggets’ recent slump, they are a tough team to beat at the Pepsi Center. They are 9-3 on the season when playing underneath their own roof.

That leaves the Thunder with the arduous task of taking the home cooking out of the equation. They have to avoid turnovers and get off to an early offensive start to try and take the crowd out of the game. Of course, that’s easier said than done against a Nuggets defense ranking second in the league in efficiency. But prolific players for the Thunder like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have to show up to put some of the pressure back on the Nuggets’ struggling offense.

The Nuggets will enter Saturday’s game with the 21st-ranked offense averaging 106.2 points per game. Oklahoma City is more than capable of making this a game. They’ve boasted the best scoring defense in the league over the last three games with opponents averaging 93.3 points in that span. Third-year guard Terrance Ferguson has already been ruled out of Saturday’s game with a hip injury.

Can the Nuggets build some momentum?

The Nuggets avoided a fourth straight loss and ignited some confidence moving forward in Thursday’s home win over the Trail Blazers. It’s clear the team plays significantly better at home than they do on the road, and there is hope they can build some momentum before they embark back out on that long stretch of highway.

A win over the Thunder on Saturday would be a good start.

Unlike the Trail Blazers, the Thunder will actually present a challenge with the No. 13-ranked defense in the league. The Nuggets have generally run into trouble against teams that can put defensive pressure on them, while also scoring over 100 points. That has seemingly been the sweet spot for opposing teams recently. The Nuggets have been held under 100 points in four of their last five losses.

Coach Michael Malone would love to see the team come out fiery and build on the improved offensive showing they had against the Trail Blazers. If only they could mimic the success they’ve shown on the defensive end of the floor. They have the No. 1-ranked scoring defense with opponents averaging only 101.6 points per game.

Oklahoma City has been quietly dangerous on the offensive end of the court. So it would be a mistake for the Nuggets to automatically assume they’re going to roll in this game. The Thunder lack a team of offensive stars, but they are still figuring out ways to get it done as a collective group. Denver would be foolish to overlook them or take anything for granted in this meeting.

They can find solace in knowing Jamal Murray is no longer on the injury report. However, Paul Millsap is still listed as questionable with a right quad strain.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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The turnaround can finally begin now that the Nuggets are back on their home floor. Their shooting statistics don’t necessarily jump out as drastically improved, but it’s more of their ability to figure out how to close out games when they’re at home.

Oklahoma City doesn’t boast the sort of elite offense to really pile on the points and force the Nuggets into mistakes when attempting to answer. They are only averaging 101.7 points per game in their last three outings. Denver is really good at winning those ugly defensive battles at home that always end up being low-scoring.

Nikola Jokic will be the great equalizer in this game as he bullies Thunder center Steven Adams. Even for an athletic big-man like Adams, the mere thought of chasing Jokic around the floor and keeping him from knocking down long-distance shots is exhausting. The Nuggets are getting healthier, and the Thunder will be in the right place at the wrong time.

I’m laying the points and picking the Nuggets.

Prediction: Denver Nuggets (-7)

Full-Game Total Pick

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Along with the Nuggets having the top-ranked scoring defense in the NBA, the Thunder are ranked 10th in the same category with opponents averaging 107.2 points per game against them. It would be a mistake to come into this game expecting an offensive shootout. However, buckets will be hard to come by on both ends of the floor given the strength of the defenses in this game.

The Nuggets haven’t been a potent offensive team this season. They’ve instead dumped all of their efforts into the defensive end of the floor. It’s a well-known fact that Oklahoma City is about to learn that the hard way. I like the under betting total here.

Prediction: Under (205)

Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.