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The defending champion Denver Nuggets will look to hand Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks their first loss of the season when they meet in Mile-High on Friday.
Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets lost their first game of the season against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, a game in which no player other than Jokic scored more than 14 points. On the other side, the Mavs are yet to lose despite Kyrie Irving missing two of four games.
Here, we will go over the betting odds and share our thoughts on the matchup.
The Nuggets are favored on their home court by 7.5 points. Although they weren’t the same on the road, they were 34-7 at home last year and will have the chance to defend home court on Friday.
Odds from BetMGM Sportsbook. Use our BetMGM promo code for a $1,500 welcome bonus.
|Dallas Mavericks||+7.5 (-115)||+220||Over 226.5 (-110)|
|Denver Nuggets||-7.5 (-105)||-275||Under 226.5 (-110)|
The Nuggets have already beaten the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies, two of the top contenders in the West a year ago. They’re 2-0 at home with an average margin of victory of 10 points.
Denver’s starting five looks like the best in the league nearly every time it takes the court. Their continuity and chemistry allow them to run a multitude of offensive actions with different initiators and from different positions on the court. They also flow well on the defensive side of the court and are led by the best player in the world, the Joker.
Jokic is averaging a modest 26.2 points, 22.8 rebounds, and 7.4 assists on 60.4% shooting to start the year. He has two triple-doubles in five games and put up 25 points and 10 rebounds in the Timberwolves loss.
The Nuggets’ bench was a huge question mark coming into the year, but it’s looked solid. Christian Braun has averaged 8.0 points and 6.2 rebounds in 21.8 minutes per night, and Peyton Watson has added another 7.6 points and excellent defense.
On the other side is the Luka Doncic show. The Slovenian superstar has a stat line of 33.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 9.8 assists on 51.1% shooting and 42.2% from three-point land. He has three triple-doubles in four games with a standout 49-point, 10-rebound, seven-assist performance in a win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Kyrie Irving did not appear in the Mavericks’ last two games and is questionable for Friday night. He averaged 19.5 points and six assists in a limited sample size.
Rookie first-round pick and center Dereck Lively II has done a nice job setting screens, rolling to the rim, crashing the glass, and playing tenacious defense. Offseason acquisition Grant Williams is scoring 15.5 points per night and shooting 55.2% from long range.
The Nuggets’ defense was poor for the majority of last year but was tremendous in the playoffs. It started this year closer to the level it hit in the playoffs and is sixth in defensive rating while allowing the third-lowest three-point percentage to opponents. They’re also ninth in offensive rating, one spot above the Golden State Warriors.
The Mavericks are only 19th in defensive rating but are second in offensive rating, largely thanks to Doncic’s excellence. They’ll get a boost if Irving plays but have proven they can win without him.
Luka is 7-6 all-time against Jokic and won three of their last four matchups. However, it was the Joker who came out on top last time with a 14/13/10 triple-double.
Williams won’t shoot better than 55% from three-point territory forever, and there’s tons of pressure on Tim Hardaway Jr. to score more than 20 points per night when Irving doesn’t play. For those reasons, we like the Nuggets to win and cover the spread at home, where they have recently dominated.
Expect Luka to have another huge night in the box score but for Denver to get the job done on the books.
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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