Playing without MVP Nikola Jokic was always going to be tough for the Denver Nuggets, but the news that Michael Porter Jr. might be done for the season is a staggering blow.
Now, the stumbling Nuggets visit Northwest Division rivals the Portland Trail Blazers as 6-point underdogs. There is still a chance that Jokic plays, so do you take a chance on the underdogs in this NBA matchup?
Find out in our free NBA picks and predictions for Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers on November 23.
Nuggets vs Trail Blazers odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
The Trail Blazers opened this Northwest Division matchup as 5.5-point home favorites and have seen the early action, moving the line to -6. The total for this game hit the board at 213.5 and that’s where it remains as of Tuesday afternoon. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until tip-off and be sure to check out the full NBA odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.
Nuggets vs Trail Blazers predictions
Predictions made on 11/23/2021 at 1:13 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Nuggets vs Trail Blazers game info
• Location: Moda Center, Portland, OR
• Date: Tuesday, November 23, 2021
• Tip-off: 10:00 p.m. ET
• TV: TNT
Nuggets vs Trail Blazers betting preview
Nuggets: Michael Porter Jr. SF (Out), Jamal Murray PG (Out), Nikola Jokic C (Questionable).
Trail Blazers: No key injuries to report.
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Over is 7-1 in the last eight meetings between the Nuggets and Trail Blazers. Find more NBA betting trends for Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers.
Nuggets vs Trail Blazers picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
The Nuggets are a mess. They've lost four in a row straight up and against the spread. Their MVP is questionable with a wrist injury, and now it sounds like they have lost arguably their second-best player for the season.
If there is a bright side for Denver, X-rays on Jokic's wrist came back negative and it sounds like he could even suit up for this game. His status is key, so keep an eye on it leading up to tipoff.
If Jokic can go, there is value on the Nuggets as underdogs. The Nuggets offense obviously becomes much more efficient with The Joker running the show against a Portland team that ranks 25th in defensive rating who they beat 125-95 back on Nov. 14.
But Dame Lillard and the Blazers have been playing better of late. Portland has won four of its last five, putting up 109.4 points per game, thanks in large part to Lillard’s resurgence. Dame is scoring 26.4 points while shooting 45.4 percent from the floor over his last six. On top of all that, Lillard didn’t play in that most recent loss to the Nuggets.
While it looks like the scoring is back for the Blazers, can they slow anyone down?
If Jokic goes, back the Nuggets. If not, the Blazers should have an easy path to a victory. For now, we'll take the points but monitor the injury report closely.
Prediction: Nuggets +6 (-110)
While picking a side in this game may seem like a murky business, the total seems a little more clear-cut with or without Jokic in the game.
Obviously, the Nuggets offense struggles without Jokic, but it may surprise some that the defense struggles almost as much. Jokic has missed the last two games and Denver surrendered 114 points and 126 points to Chicago and Phoenix, respectively. The Over cashed easily in both games. Now, they deal with a Portland team that ranks sixth in the NBA in offensive rating.
If Jokic does play, he should be able to do his thing against a defense that ranks 22nd in opponent points per game and 28th in opponent field goal percentage, making the Over still the play, even if the game slows down a bit when he is on the floor.
Prediction: Over 213.5 (-110)
As noted, the best bet here is the Over because it looks Jokic-proof.
If he plays, the Nuggets get the MVP back and should be able to score plenty against a suspect Blazers defense. If he doesn’t, Lillard and his teammates should have no problem filling up the bucket against a team that has given up an average of 120 points in its last two games without its best player.
Pick: Over 213.5 (-110)
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