Warriors vs Nuggets Picks and Predictions: Golden State's Backups Stand No Chance

The Warriors head to the thin air of Denver to face off against the West-best Nuggets, and will likely take the floor without Steph, Klay, and more. That leaves us with a double-digit spread, but one our NBA picks suspect Denver can handle with ease.

Last Updated: Feb 2, 2023 3:59 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
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Earlier this week, Steph Curry pushed back against criticism of players under load management. He insisted that he always wants to play. He tries to talk the Golden State Warriors into letting him play every game, but he gets overruled.

Awkwardly enough, he is probably getting overruled again today with the Warriors on the second night of a back-to-back as they face the Denver Nuggets.

Read our NBA betting picks for Warriors vs. Nuggets below to see how his absence impacts this matchup. 

Warriors vs Nuggets best odds

Warriors vs Nuggets picks and predictions

As of mid-afternoon, the Golden State Warriors have not announced who may or may not play tonight, but coming off an overtime loss at Minnesota last night, it's simply logical to expect the Warriors’ stars to sit out tonight.

They're facing the best team in the Western Conference, at altitude, after an exhausting game that ended fewer than 24 hours before tonight’s game will tip off. Golden State knows it will probably lose tonight regardless, so sparing its veterans that wear and tear holds more long-term value.

That's the difference between a game like tonight’s and the five times this season Steph Curry already played both nights of a back-to-back. On those second nights, the Warriors were always favored but went just 3-2 straight-up and against the spread in those five games.

On the road against the Denver Nuggets, though, Golden State was always likely to be a distinct underdog. The 12-point spread tonight is not only an indication of who may sit, but a testament to just how good the Nuggets are.

Unfortunately for this thought, the Warriors have not yet traveled to Denver this season, so there is no spread precedent to cite. But consider that the Nuggets have been favored at home by seven points against the Pelicans, by nine points against the Timberwolves, by 14.5 points against the Suns and by 12.5 points against the Lakers in the last month. Those are all teams in the mix with Golden State in the West.

Add in a 31-point win against the Clippers as 4.5-point favorites, and Denver is 6-0 SU at home against the glut of the West in the last month and 5-1 ATS, with that one mark against coming from the Timberwolves on Jan. 18.

The Nuggets are 9-3 ATS at home since Dec. 30, particularly notable given Denver is only 27-24 ATS on the season, including 2-3 on the road in the same stretch.

Setting aside how odd that heavy home load was in the last month-plus, it's clear the Nuggets have found some homecourt advantage this season. That is why the Warriors likely will sit their stars.

With or without Steph, Klay, Draymond, and Andrew Wiggins, Golden State has little chance of covering tonight and even less of one of winning.

My best bet: Nuggets -12 (-105 at DraftKings)

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Warriors vs Nuggets spread analysis

This thinking is that everyone has rightfully assumed some Warriors will not play tonight. The spread has not ticked upward as this became realized. It opened with the Nuggets favored by 11.5 early Thursday and reached as high as -13 before settling at -12.

That quick jump was presumably an overreaction to this likelihood, an overreaction because the line was already properly increased.

The hefty number is not something to worry about with Denver. It has won six games by at least a dozen points in the last month, two of them even covering bigger spreads than tonight’s.

Warriors vs Nuggets Over/Under analysis

The total opened as high as 234 before ticking down to 231 through Thursday morning, though some books have clung to 231.5.

There was a thought that perhaps Golden State struggles to reach totals when Steph Curry is out of the lineup, but the Warriors are 8-7 to the Over in the 15 games he's missed this season, including 2-2 in his sporadic absences, setting aside the 11 games he missed with a shoulder subluxation.

One thing to note about those, though, is that tonight’s total is much higher. Those four games have averaged pregame totals of 226. The 11-game stretch averaged 229.8.

Warriors vs Nuggets betting trend to know

The Under is 4-1 in Golden State’s last five games when its starting five averaged at least 32 minutes in a game the previous night. They averaged nearly 38 minutes last night, with all five playing at least 32 minutes. Find more NBA betting trends for Warriors vs. Nuggets.

Warriors vs Nuggets game info

Location: Ball Arena, Denver, CO
Date: Thursday, February 2, 2023
Tip-off: 9:00 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area, Altitude

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