Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#2549 Denver Nuggets vs.
#2550 Portland Trail Blazers
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 10:05pm EDT
Moda Center, Portland
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Denver Nuggets will head to the Moda Center on Wednesday night for a Western Conference battle versus the Portland Trail Blazers.

Portland has been mired in a funk as of late. The Trail Blazers have dropped two in a row and seven of their last 10 games but remain in sixth place in the Western Conference standings. Portland is just 1.5-games ahead of the Dallas Mavericks for the coveted No. 6 seed and can avoid the NBA’s Play-In Tournament with a strong finish to the regular season. Meanwhile, Denver sits in fourth place in the West with a 37-20 overall record.

Can the Trail Blazers get back on the winning track at home against the Nuggets on Wednesday evening?

Rivers to make Nuggets' debut on Wednesday

Denver won its third straight game in dramatic fashion on Monday evening, escaping with a 139-137 double-overtime win versus the Memphis Grizzlies. Nikola Jokic finished with 47 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists for the Nuggets, while Will Barton added 28 points and seven assists in the win. Denver closed regulation on a 14-2 run to force the first overtime and overcame a late five-point deficit to force a second extra session before pulling out the win.

The Nuggets recently signed guard Austin Rivers to a 10-day contract. Denver was linked to Rivers when he was released by the Oklahoma City Thunder but a deal never materialized. However, in the wake of Jamal Murray’s season-ending knee injury, the Nuggets could use some added depth at the point guard spot. Rivers brings size, shooting, and playoff experience to Denver’s backcourt. Prior to being traded at the deadline, Rivers was averaging 7.3 points per game on 43.0 percent shooting from the field and 36.4 percent shooting from 3-point range.

According to dunksandthrees.com, the Nuggets enter Wednesday’s matchup with the fifth-best adjusted net rating in the NBA at +5.2. Denver ranks third in the league with an adjusted 117.7 offensive rating but it has slid to 19th with an adjusted 112.5 defensive rating through 57 games.

Lillard expected to return vs. Denver

Portland suffered a heartbreaking 113-112 loss at home versus the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night. C.J. McCollum scored a team-high 28 points while Norman Powell added 23 for the Trail Blazers, who played without star point guard Damian Lillard in the loss.

Lillard has missed each of the team’s last three games with a hamstring injury. Portland was also without center Jusuf Nurkic, who sat the first game of a back-to-back to manage the pain in his previously injured knee. According to Yahoo Sports, Lillard is expected to suit up for Wednesday’s game against the Nuggets. He comes in averaging 28.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 7.7 assists in 35.9 minutes per game for Portland.

According to dunksandthrees.com, Portland sports the league’s sixth-best offense with an adjusted offensive rating of 116.3. However, the Trailblazers have struggled defensively with an adjusted 117.2 rating on the other end of the floor, the second-worst mark in the NBA. That has led to a disappointing -0.9 adjusted net rating, which ranks 19th in the NBA.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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The Trail Blazers will be closer to full strength in this game but I’m not sure that it is going to matter here. Portland has been stumbling down the stretch of the season and the Trail Blazers have turned into one of the league’s worst defensive teams in the process. On the other hand, Denver has held up well without Jamal Murray and added more shooting with the addition of Austin Rivers. Expect the Nuggets to overwhelm the Blazers with their size up front and take Denver to cover the spread on the road in this Western Conference battle at the Moda Center on Wednesday.

 

Prediction: Denver Nuggets -1.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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These two teams are projected for 225.5 points which seems like a bit of a low number given the Blazers’ recent struggles on the defensive end. Both teams play at a slow pace but also rank as two of the top six offensive teams in the NBA. Portland also owns the second-worst adjusted defensive rating in the league and will be getting Lillard back in time for Wednesday night’s contest, which bodes well for the total here. Take this matchup to go over the projected total in Portland.

Prediction: Over 225.5
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Written By Nick Raffoul , "Nick Raffoul"

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.