Portland Trail Blazers -8.5 vs Denver Nuggets
As two-point home favorites, the Denver Nuggets beat the Utah Jazz Friday night, and colleccted a no-sweat cover in the process. With the victory, Denver improved to 28-45, and have split their last four games, both straight up and compared to the betting line.
Portland too had a successful out last ight, beating the Phoenix Suns as 1-point road favorites. Friday's contest completed a two-game road stand for the Blazers. They won and covered in both instances.
While Denver's real age (which weights each player on the rosters age by minutes played) is about average for the league, we have observed in these Nuggets a phenomenon usually associated with older teams: particularly poor performance in the second game of back-to-back sequences. The Nuggets are 4-14 straight up from this spot this season, and 7-10-1 ATS.
To make matters worse, Portland's Moda Center is one of the most difficult arenas in the league to steal a win (Portland's home record is third best in the NBA straight up, and seventh against the spread, and TeamRankings rates the Blazers as the fifth best team in the Association on their home floor). As such, Denver's situation tonight appears precarious.
As indicated earlier, Portland too will play this evening without having a night off -- a slight potential positive for the Nuggets. However, their 10-6 straight up and 9-7 versus the spread records from this position suggest that the Blazers are much more proficient in the back half of two-game-in-two-night stretches (interestingly though, Portland is ever-so-slightly older than Denver).
Our Real Plus/Minus-based power ratings suggest the Blazers will win by 12. This prognostication is validated by an endorsement of the Blazers to cover from our logistic regression model (we have observed roughly a 59% win rate when these two independent systems emit the same signal). As such, and given the favorable trends for the Blazers, we are comfortable laying the points and backing the home team here.