Here’s The Game Day’s report on the 2021 NBA Playoffs Bust — the Betting Favorite Likeliest To Get Bounced Early.
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2021 NBA Playoffs Bust: Do NOT Bet On This Favorite To Go Far
It’s easy to sit here and talk about how the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns are in trouble if they have to face the Los Angeles Lakers or Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
The Jazz and Suns could be in trouble. That’s a given. They’re going to be biting their nails.
But the team that will have an early exit will be the Western Conference’s No. 3 seeds: the Denver Nuggets.
It’s difficult not to make a Nuggets playoff bet, given how strong Denver was this year. The Nuggets went 47-25 on the season and will feature one of the best 2021 NBA MVP Award bets in Nikola Jokic. Jokic scored 26.4 points, brought down 10.8 rebounds, and assisted on 8.3 baskets per game. Jokic has played out of his mind and has really become the team’s point guard since Jamal Murray went down with a season-ending injury where he tore his ACL in his left knee.
Let’s rewind to two years ago. The Denver Nuggets took on the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2019 Western Conference Semifinals. The Nuggets took the first game but then the Blazers took the next two. The Nuggets tied it up and won game five, only to lose the final two games to the Blazers as Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum put together some clutch performances.
It was a series for the ages between two promising young teams that were going to be back year after year in the playoffs.
The Blazers offense is scary and when Lillard and McCullum get hot, defenses struggle. They’re scoring 119 points per 100 possessions, which is second best, just below the Brooklyn Nets. They’ve got an effective field goal percentage of 54.5 percent and rarely turn the ball over on offense. When Portland added Norm Powell from the Raptors via trade, they added another scoring threat, as he is now averaging 18.6 points per game for the Blazers.
The Nuggets, on the other hand, will be without Murray and are going to be banged into the series. Will Barton and PJ Dozier could be out to start the series against the Blazers. I’d be a bit concerned if I were Denver here.
The Blazers’ strength will be their backcourt. The Blazers don’t necessarily defend guards well to begin with and would have to potentially go with a three-guard lineup including Facundo Campazzo, Austin Rivers, and Shaq Harrison to shut down the Blazers.
This could be a seven-game series, just like 2019. Both teams have players who have improved. Jokic had a ridiculous season along with Michael Porter Jr., who is having a breakout year. The Blazers have young talent that also improved and Norm Powell, who saw his stock increase just as much as Porter Jr. did this season.
With that said, the favorite that will have an early exit will be the Denver Nuggets.
Don’t make a Nuggets playoff bet at any odds other than plus-money odds. They’re simply underdogs in this series, yet oddsmakers are making the Nuggets slight favorites due to home-court advantage and strictly seeding purposes. If you’re still confident in the Nuggets, you can likely wait a couple games in and get the Nuggets at plus-money odds.
Remember, to start the series, the Nuggets could be without Barton and Dozier and that might take a toll on this team early.