The Nuggets are worth a championship flyer
Denver provides value to bettors at +3150 to win the NBA championship
By Alexander Chan
- The Denver Nuggets have proven that last season was not a fluke with a follow-up campaign that has earned them the third seed in the Western Conference. Despite their success, oddsmakers do not consider the Nuggets to be credible title contenders. At +3150 NBA odds to win the championship, Denver provides bettors with value as a championship underdog.
- The Nuggets have more continuity from last season’s roster than other title contending teams from the West such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Houston Rockets. Nine of the 10 Nuggets who lead the team in minutes per game this season played for the Nuggets last season.
- Denver has the deepest team among Western Conference title contenders. Nine Nuggets average more than 15 minutes per game. Eight of the nine players have positive value over replacement player ratings.
- The Nuggets did not win 43 games before the suspension of the season just by beating up on moribund Eastern Conference teams. The Nuggets have the third best record against teams from the West in the Western Conference. The Nuggets are also tied for the third best record against teams with a winning percentage above .500 in the Western Conference.
The four-month layoff following the suspension of the season in March should benefit teams with the most continuity. The Nuggets are effectively running the same team that won a playoff series for the first time in a decade last season. The Nuggets are still led by two-time all-star center Nikola Jokic. Jamal Murray, Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, and Will Barton still comprise the Nuggets’ core.
The Nuggets’ continuity stands in stark contrast to the massive roster overhauls that other Western Conference title contenders undertook this season. The Lakers, Clippers, and Rockets made significant additions and changes to their teams during last year’s offseason and before this year’s trade deadline. Those teams will need time to adjust to playing together again after an incredibly long layoff with only eight regular season games left while the Nuggets will already have years of familiarity with each other under their belts.
While depth would not be regarded as much of an asset in normal playoff series, this year’s postseason will be anything but normal. The playoffs will be taking place following just eight regular season games after players had been idle for four months. Many players will need to use the remaining regular season games to round into game shape.
The Nuggets’ superior depth should help them overcome having any players who are slow to adjust to live basketball conditions again. 10 Nuggets averaged over 15 minutes per game and nine of them have a positive value over replacement player rating. The Nuggets are so deep that coach Michael Malone could not find consistent playing time for a player as talented as second-year forward Michael Porter Jr.
The Nuggets had 43 wins before the season’s suspension. Denver’s sterling win-loss record cannot be traced to just running up the score against bottom-feeder teams. The Nuggets had the third best record in the West against Western Conference opponents and tied for the third best record in the West against teams with a winning percentage over .500. The Nuggets are a battle-tested team that is worth a flyer at +3150 odds to win the NBA championship. Although the Nuggets have been great against the money line, if you are a bettor you should know that the Nuggets are not one of the top NBA picks against the spread because they only cover the spread 47% of the time. They may be a great underdog bet to win it all but if you are betting game to game watch out. If you are betting the NBA playoffs at all you should take a look at these sportsbook promos from local sportsbooks in your state. You can get free money to bet on the playoffs by creating a new account.
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