2021 NBA Playoffs: Nuggets' Offense Should Break Out at Home
Betting on surprisingly high combined score in Denver: Suns @ Nuggets o223
History suggests aggregate offense in the third meeting between the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets in the NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semis Friday will exceed expectations. As such, we are backing the OVER.
After the NBA post-season really gets going, the OVER has demonstrated an exploitable edge in games with all but the lowest totals that feature a road team lacking post-season experience.
From the second round forward, betting the OVER in NBA playoff action with a betting total of 200 or higher and an away team that missed the prior year's post-season has proven highly profitable...
Justifying the long-term success of this system, we hypothesize that post-season inexperience results in teams undervaluing the importance of defense, and instead trying to win by focusing only on on the offensive end of the court.
But whatever the rationale, this simple system has delivered a 19% return on investment since 2004-05, submitting a cover rate below 50% in only two of those years.
Separately, Denver's O/U was 21-14-1 this past regular season, so expecting the OVER to hit Friday by no means appears a stretch. However, this headline statistic is somewhat misleading.
Much of the OVER's success this year at the Nugget's Ball Arena materialized against visiting Eastern Conference competition. We have documented our view that the combination of losing two or three hours to changing timezones, and playing in Denver's excessive altitude tends to sap defensive stamina of teams trekking west, contributing to higher scores.
But the Nuggets' O/U is also 3-0 so far in these playoffs, despite facing only Western Conference teams.
Further, Phoenix has proven particularly OVER-prone this year, including a 22-17 O/U record this season (the Suns OVER is 1-2 so far this post-season though).
Thus, in light of the broad historical context and the team specific tendencies supporting the OVER for game 3 of Nuggets / Suns action, and given that the betting total is actually lower than was the case for the last game at Phoenix, we are comfortable betting that aggregate offense delivers an upside surprise in Friday.