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Nuggets vs Thunder Predictions: Defending Champs Close Road Stint

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published October 29, 2023
8 min read

The team of the future meets the team of now as the Oklahoma City Thunder host the defending champion Denver Nuggets on Sunday. 

The Thunder’s core of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, and Chet Holmgren has them in a position to be a top contender for years to come. But on Sunday, they’ll face the best team in the league, the Nuggets, who are closing a brief two-game road stint.

Here, we’ll go over the betting odds and share our best bets for the matchup.

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NBA Northwest Division Predictions

Nuggets vs. Thunder Betting Odds for Saturday, Oct. 29 

The Nuggets are favored and will be most times they take the court. But despite their recent dominance, they were only 19-22 on the road in 2022-23, while OKC was 24-17 at home.

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Teams

Spread

Moneyline

Total

Denver Nuggets

-3.5 (-115)

-165

Over 229.5 (-115)

Oklahoma City Thunder

+3.5 (-105)

+140

Under 229.5 (-105)


The Nuggets proved throughout the playoffs they have the most balanced starting five in the entire league. Their diversity of offensive skill sets allows them to go to an assortment of different looks, and they’re also interchangeable on the defensive end. 

Nikola Jokic is not only brilliant but, at this stage, the best player in the entire world. He doesn’t appear to have lost a step either, which he proved by dropping a 29-point triple-double in the first game of the season against the Los Angeles Lakers. 

On top of the usual superlatives, the Nuggets do a great job racking up second-chance scoring opportunities. They’re also tremendous at pushing the ball in transition, whether that is immediately after a made or missed basket, which allows them to catch opposing defenses reeling before they are matched up.

The key for the Nuggets this season will be if they can get the same level of production from their bench they did last year. Bruce Brown and Jeff Green are gone, and Reggie Jackson and Christian Braun are the new leaders of the second unit. They’ll also need guys such as Peyton Watson and Zeke Nnaji to give them consistent 12-15-minute stints, or they’ll be in trouble.

The Thunder might have been bounced in the play-in last year, but they were impressive in numerous categories. They forced the most turnovers per game and were fourth in scoring in 2022-23, and there’s a real argument they should be even better this time around.

Holmgren was a do-it-all player in college whose value in the NBA is not yet known but whose potential is limitless. At Gonzaga, the 7-footer averaged 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.7 blocks, and shot 39% from three. He’s taller and has a much more diverse skill set than Jaylin Williams, who still gave them great minutes as a rookie a year ago.

The Thunder want to play fast and can attack from the inside or outside. Their aggressive defensive style will cause them to be punished by the Nuggets’ excellent actions, but it could also be a nice counter to Denver’s pace in transition.

Gilgeous-Alexander made the All-NBA First Team last year and will need to be ready to go toe-to-toe with a two-time MVP for the Thunder to keep this competitive.

Nuggets vs. Thunder Prediction and Betting Pick

The key matchup to watch here is Holmgren against Jokic. Although the technical rookie has a two-inch advantage, he’s significantly lighter and will have to prove that he can hold his own against the big-bodied but light-handed Joker.

The Thunder went 1-3 against the Nuggets last season but kept three of the four matchups within five points. That, combined with the insertion of Holmgren and the Nuggets’ weakened bench, leads us to believe that they can cover and potentially win outright.

The Nuggets are the best team in the West until proven otherwise, but their losing record on the road last year speaks for itself. They also have a massive target on their back following their championship run, and the young Thunder are the type of team that will draw inspiration from that. 

Look at the Thunder with the points here.

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

528 Articles

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.

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