April 7, 2017
There is one pick tonight.
Take Denver Nuggets -6 spread against New Orleans Pelicans for 3% of the bankroll.
This late in the NBA regular season, few teams have enough incentive to put out their best lineup. Teams have either locked up a playoff spot or are lottery-bound and stand to benefit more from losses than wins, which is why teams like the Phoenix Suns and the Lakers have shutdown healthy veteran players to give their youth a chance. The Nuggets, however, are the exception. Still hopeful of grabbing the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western conference, they'll do everything in their power to register a much-needed 'W' tonight.
Unlike most other teams in the association, Denver has a lot to gain or lose from each contest right about now. With just 4 games remaining on their schedule, they know they have little margin for error. Realistically, their playoff hopes will all but vanish if they fail to win this game. After all, they find themselves 1.5 games behind the Trail Blazers and with Portland having the tie-breaker, they basically need to win their remaining games and hope the Blazers slip up. Failing to win a home game against an inferior opponent like the Pelicans will pretty much put an end to their post-season aspirations.
While this is a must-win game for the hosts, the same can not be said for the visitors. Not only is there little point in risking injury-prone stars such as Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins in this matchup, the Pels have little to gain from a win. Even if both of them play, it wouldn't surprise us if Alvin Gentry limited their minutes to avoid a serious injury in what is ultimately a rather meaningless game. The Pelicans were eliminated from post-season contention just a few days ago and it must have hit them hard mentally. Players take awhile to make their peace with the disappointment of a lost season, especially one that was filled with promise and in that sense New Orleans is more vulnerable right now than a team like Sacramento Kings, since they've already known their fate for some time.
Denver's up-tempo style of play means very few teams can keep up. They just beat this Pelicans team in New Orleans on April 4th in what turned out to be a complete shootout! That was a close game decided by just 3 points, but we don't believe this one will be. With New Orleans dejected and having little to play for, we don't expect them to give 100% in this matchup. Mike Malone's squad, on the other hand, should bring everything they have to Pepsi Arena as they stave off elimination and keep their playoff hopes alive for at least another game. The Nuggets, are still knocking on Portland's door and can stay within touching distance by winning tonight. We expect them to pull away and do so fairly convinvingly when all is said and done.
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