Denver Nuggets v Oklahoma City Thunder – NBA Betting Preview and Prediction
Oklahoma City Thunder have recently found their form and will prove to be a tough test for Denver Nuggets, who will be looking to claim their 16th win of the season, which would cement them as one of the playoffs contenders. The match between Nuggets and Thunder will be played this Sunday, December 15, at the famous Pepsi Center.
Thunder playing their best basketball of the season
Oklahoma City Thunder are entering the weekend’s bout with 11-13 on the year, 3-2 in their last five and 5-2 in their last seven. Looking back at what Thunder produced in their most recent five fixtures, they have lost to Indiana Pacers (100:107), defeated Minnesota Timberwolves (139:127(OT), Portland Trail Blazers (108:96) and Utah Jazz (104:90), but unfortunately dropped their most recent match against Sacramento Kings (93:94).
In their match against Kings, Thunder started off slow and went down by five in the first quarter (18-23). That being said, they more than compensated for their slow start win Q2 where they crushed the hosts and outscored them by 14 points (29:15), which earned them a nine-point lead ahead of the second half. The third quarter unfortunately once again ended in Kings’ favor who put up a show and almost earned back the lead – reducing the gap to only two points (69:71). The fourth and last quarter saw Thunder reach an 11-point lead, only to let it slip in between their fingers in the final minutes when Kings caught up and ended the match with two points to spare. The final score showed 94:93.
The top scorer of the night was Buddy Hield with 23, to which he added six rebounds and six dimes. Dennis Schroder scored 17 and added two rebounds while Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 17 and added three rebounds.
Denver Nuggets counting on home-court advantage
Denver Nuggets are 15-8 on the year and 2-3 in their last five. Looking back Denver Nuggets won against New York Knicks (129:92), lost the next three against Boston Celtics (95:108), Brooklyn Nets (102:105) and Philadelphia 76ers (92:97) and won against Portland Trail Blazers on Friday (114:99) in front of their home crowd.
The match against Blazers was fairly one-sided throughout. Denver won each quarter, which helped them accumulate their 15-point lead. Except for the first quarter (33:26) the remaining three were fairly close and it would be safe to say we expected more from Nuggets. Despite winning they are visibly struggling, as seen in their 2-5 record in the last seven fixtures. While they are still 4-1 in their last five home games, we have come concerns whether Nuggets will be able to perform up to par with the expectations against the hot Thunder.
In their clash with Portland Hassan Whiteside emerged as the top scorer with 33 points, 11 rebounds and two assists. Nikola Jokic was second with 20 points, 11 rebounds and six dimes, while Jerami Grant scored 20 and added five rebounds.
Verdict & Prediction
As reported, Paul Millsap is questionable for Nuggets, while Thunder are without Terrance Ferguson, Hamidou Diallo and Andre Roberson.
Thunder are entering this bout in an excellent form, seeing how they won five out of their last seven, while Nuggets sit at the other side of the stick with five losses in their last seven. A lot of Thunder’s success is due to the excellent performance from their big man Steven Adams who is a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the pitch, yet it’s his defensive work and rebounding that makes him stand out.
Adams has 196 rebounds this season and averages 0.34 rebounds per minute. Against Sacramento, he put up 11 rebounds, 13 against Utah Jazz and nine against Portland and he will prove to be a huge nuisance for Denver, who might be without Millsap here. The biggest issue we have with Nuggets is their potential lack of inside presence, which will be exploited by Thunder. There are some arguments to be made playing in Denver is not easy, but considering Thunder did not show any signs of struggle when playing in Utah, we believe they are set to make a show here.
In our eyes, Oklahoma City Thunder have a solid chance to win here, which is why we don’t mind taking them with a seven-point head start.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder +7.00 Points
Odds: 1.96 Sportmarket