The Los Angeles Clippers and the Denver Nuggets square off in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Thursday evening in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. The Clippers, led by Kawhi Leonard, defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, while Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets closed out the Utah Jazz in a competitive Game 7 on Tuesday. Patrick Beverley (calf) is listed as questionable for the Clippers, with Will Barton (knee) ruled out for the Nuggets.

Tip-off is at 9 p.m. ET in Orlando. William Hill lists Los Angeles as the 8.5-point favorite, while the over-under is set at is 223 in the latest Clippers vs. Nuggets odds. Before making any Nuggets vs. Clippers picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions from SportsLine’s proven computer model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it’s already returned over $5,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks this season. It entered the week on a blistering 60-33 run on top-rated NBA spread picks, returning almost $2,400 on those picks alone. It’s also a sizzling 10-2 on top-rated picks since the NBA’s restart in July. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Nuggets vs. Clippers. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the NBA odds from William Hill and trends for Clippers vs. Nuggets:

  • Clippers vs. Nuggets spread: Clippers -8.5
  • Clippers vs. Nuggets over-under: 223 points
  • Clippers vs. Nuggets money line: Clippers -430, Nuggets +350
  • LAC The Clippers are 7-3 against the spread in the last 10 games
  • DEN: The Nuggets are 6-4 against the spread in the last 10 games

Why the Clippers can cover

L.A. enters the series with a significant advantage when its offense faces Denver’s defense. Though the Nuggets did improve over the course of a seven-game series against the Jazz, Denver finished with the third-worst defensive rating in the first round. That carries over from a league-average performance in the regular season, finishing 16th points allowed per possession, and the Clippers boasted the No. 2 offensive rating in the NBA during the regular season.

L.A. rates as above-average in offensive rebounding, turnover avoidance and shooting efficiency, with the No. 1 ranking in the NBA in free-throw generation. In contrast, the Nuggets struggle mightily on the defensive glass, with only the No. 14 ranking in the league in keeping opponents off the charity stripe. Defensively, the Clippers also match up well with the Nuggets, as L.A. finished fifth in the NBA in points allowed per possession and third in the NBA in shooting-efficiency allowed this season. Denver’s offense is difficult to stop, but L.A. should be able to contain it. 

Why the Nuggets can cover 

The Nuggets are a stellar offensive team, headlined by Jokic and Murray. Jokic, who averaged 26.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in the first round against Utah, is an All-NBA center that facilitates offense with elite passing and feel. Murray, who exploded for a pair of 50-point games against the Jazz, is riding a hot hand, and the Nuggets rely on him for perimeter creation. In the regular season, the Nuggets finished with the No. 5 offense in the NBA, scoring 1.13 points per possession. 

In the first round, Denver jumped to No. 3 in the league in points per possession, putting real pressure on the Jazz throughout the series. The Nuggets are one of the NBA’s best offensive rebounding teams, grabbing 27.9 percent of available rebounds after missed shots, and Denver is also a top-10 team in avoiding turnovers. The Clippers have few defensive weaknesses, but L.A. ranked in the bottom 10 in turnover creation during the regular season, leading to optimism that the Nuggets can protect the ball and get shots to the rim.

How to make Clippers vs. Nuggets picks

SportsLine’s model is leaning over on the total, with Leonard and Murray projected to exceed their season-long scoring averages. The model also says one side of the spread hits 60 percent of the time. You can only get the pick at SportsLine. 

So who wins Clippers vs. Nuggets? And which side of the spread hits in 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Nuggets vs. Clippers spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up over $5,000 on its top-rated NBA picks this season, and find out.

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