In their last two games, the Nuggets have managed to score 95 points in one game and 147 points in the other. You can guess which game they won and which one they lost. Denver got 78 points and 33 rebounds from its starting front line of Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr., and Aaron Gordon in Game 4, which helped the Nuggets fend off Damian Lillard’s iconic 55 point performance and defeat the Blazers in double overtime.
These two teams are now even over their past six games, dating back to their regular season finale encounter, with each team winning three games and covering three times.
Instead of predicting a winner in this unpredictable series, let’s take a look at the over/under. Five of the six recent Portland-Denver contests have hit the over, with the total landing at 227.5 for Thursday night. All five of the overs landed above that number, with the only low-scoring game of the series, the 115-95 Game 4 in Portland.
The 147-140 double overtime came with two days rest, while the teams only had one day off before the 115-95 game. With only Wednesday off before Game 6, and coming off a 287 point extravaganza, the under looks like a solid play for Thursday night. Three Blazers topped 50 minutes on Tuesday night, as they only played nine men, while Denver had four players log over 40 minutes each.
The Pick: Under 227.5
Let’s start with the usual caveat that this is a stay-away until we know the status of Anthony Davis. The all-star center is still questionable with a groin injury after missing Game 5, where the Lakers looked lost without him. While Game 6 in Los Angeles should be more competitive even if Davis needs to sit out, the Suns have all of the momentum and self-doubt might be creeping into the Lakers locker room.
It’s a legitimate question of whether Lebron James genuinely believes that the Lakers can win this series and the hubbub about James leaving the court before the game was over will be the dominant story until tipoff on Thursday night.
One positive sign is that the Lakers were more competitive at the Staples Center in Games 3 and 4. They were also -6.5 home favorites in those games and you can get them for -2 on Thursday night. While they might be an abysmal 5-18 outright as an underdog this season, the Lakers are still 40-15 as a favorite.
Phoenix, on the other hand, has been one of the best road teams in the league, going 25-13 away from home, and have already won twice on the road against the Lakers this season, with a regular season win in L.A. in March. The Suns have only been an underdog fifteen times this season, going 9-6 in those games.
If you think the Lakers will win this game without Davis, then grab them now since the line probably will not go lower if he’s declared out, but it will go up if he is set to play. If you want to bet on the Suns, wait until Davis has his status clarified, unless you think it’s likely that he will play and you want to take Phoenix at a number closer to +4.
The Pick: Suns +2 (assuming Davis is declared out)