Nuggets vs Hawks Game 3 Betting Preview
The Gold Sheet offers their NBA betting preview for Friday night’s Western Conference playoff showdown between the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns. Much like the Milwaukee Bucks, the Denver Nuggets got steamrolled in the first two games of their series. Can Denver match Milwaukee’s accomplishment by getting back into the series with a Game 3 win on home soil?
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Not the best analogy when comparisons are made to how wristwatches look after being dropped from the top of the Empire State Building. So it went for the Nuggets in Game 2 at Phoenix on Tuesday after things began to go sideways in the second half of Game 1. That one, which ended 122-105 in favor of the Suns, looked downright competitive compared to the 123-98 beatdown (which wasn’t even that close) in Game 2. But, this is the NBA, where third games of playoff matchups can often bear no resemblance to earlier clashes—witness the Bucks bouncing back from a pair of humiliations to beat the Nets in their Game 3 last night at Milwaukee.
Does Denver have a similar effort in its satchel? Perhaps, as the Nuggets are now back at home in the Mile High City, though we suspect Denver is going to have to pull a rabbit out of its hat to advance to the conference finals. And unless that rabbit is named Jamal Murray (and it won’t, as Murray is out until next season), the Nuggets might be well advised to make golf plans beginning next week. As various NBA insiders suspected, at some point the absence of Murray (21.2 ppg; 41% triples) and his rapid-fire ability to score would be greatly missed.
And though Mike Malone cobbled together a decent finish to the regular season, and survival of a first-round matchup vs. Portland, minus Murray, Phoenix is looking a battle too far. Especially as MVP Nikola Jokic, the Batman of Denver compared to Murray’s Robin, is not having an easy time dominating this foe as he did the Blazers in the first round when scoring 33 ppg. He’s tallying 10 ppg fewer thru the first two games of this series, but that’s consistent with performances vs. Deandre Ayton, who all season has held the Joker beneath his scoring average, mainly because unlike other defenders, he is less apt to get posted-up by Jokic, who instead is forced to operate more from the perimeter. What that will likely do is slow the pace, as was the case on Wednesday when the scoreline stayed “under” even with a belated late scoring spree by both teams (68 points in 4th Q) long after the issue was decided kept the “total” result in some suspense into the final minute. With Chris Paul (15 assists in Game 2) pulling the strings adroitly and involving everyone in the Phoenix lineup to contribute, with all starters scoring DDs in both of the first two games, the Suns are glad to play in halfcourt, and their defense has been the NBA’s best in the playoffs, allowing only 98.5 ppg.
📝 𝙂𝙖𝙢𝙚 𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙫𝙞𝙚𝙬
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) June 11, 2021
Add it up, and we don’t like Denver’s eventual prospects in this series, though given playoff dynamics and an expected kamikaze effort, the Nuggets have a chance to stay afloat on Friday. Our preferred recommendation in Game 3, however, would be “under” which has been the direction of the majority of Phoenix games this postseason, not to mention that the lowest-scoring of the five previous tilts this term came during the only meeting yet in the Denver altitude. Play Suns-Nuggets “Under”
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Founded in 1957, The Gold Sheet is the country’s longest-running sports betting newsletter. Each week, the Gold Sheet team delivers daily analysis on NBA and college basketball matchups, plus comprehensive coverage of NFL and college football games in the fall. For over 60 years, Gold Sheet readers have received Key Releases, as well as access to proprietary power rankings on all teams. The Gold Sheet maintains in-depth point spread and results logs, giving sports bettors and enthusiasts the insight needed to maximize their wagers.
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