9:00 p.m. ET – Nuggets at Raptors (-4) O/U: 218
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Toronto Raptors||+4 (-110)||+140||O 218 (-110)|
|Denver Nuggets||-4 (-110)||-170||U 218 (-110)|
The 26-36 Raptors travel to the Pepsi Center in Denver on Thursday night to take on the 41-21 Nuggets. Toronto is fresh off a 116-103 loss on Tuesday down “home” in Tampa Bay to the Nets. Denver was in action on Wednesday, squeaking out a 114-112 win over the Pelicans. These two teams met on March 24, when the Raptors snapped a then nine-game losing streak with a dominant 135-111 win behind 27 points from big man Pascal Siakam.
Siakam leads Toronto with 20.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this season. He poured in 27 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field in the team’s previous matchup with the Nuggets. The Raptors have a different makeup this time around after trading guard Norman Powell to the Trail Blazers at the trade deadline for guard Gary Trent Jr.. But Trent Jr. is going to miss Thursday night’s game with a lower leg injury, along with backup center Chris Boucher who will be out with a knee injury.
Denver is led by NBA Most Valuable Player favorite Nikola Jokic, who is averaging 26.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 8.7 assists this season. Jokic had 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in the previous matchup. The Nuggets have a different look to them this time around as well, with star guard Jamal Murray out for the season with a knee injury. Forward Michael Porter Jr. has helped step up in Murray’s absence, scoring over 20 points in 10 of his last 11 games. Porter Jr. also has eclipsed 30 points in two of his last three games.
Denver also has acquired big man Aaron Gordon from the Magic at the trade deadline since these two teams last met and he has provided much-needed depth to the Nuggets’ frontcourt.
The market has had a hard time handicapping Denver since the Murray injury and that has led to the Nuggets covering only three of their last 10 games. Toronto, on the other hand, has covered six of its last 10 games and seems to finally be playing the basketball we all thought they would play this season.
Thursday is a brutal spot on the schedule for the Raptors, however. Toronto is 10-20 on the road this season, while Denver is 23-10 at the Pepsi Center.
The altitude is going to provide an advantage per usual for the Nuggets and Jokic should be able to have his way with the Raptors’ big men. Denver is in the thick of things in the Western Conference playoff picture and needs every win it can get, while Toronto is just cruising to the finish line of a disappointing season.
*Odds courtesy of MyBookie