The Portland Trail Blazers aim to avoid elimination from the 2021 NBA Playoffs on Thursday evening. Portland trails the Denver Nuggets by a 3-2 margin in a best-of-seven series after dropping a heartbreaker on Tuesday night. The Blazers do have home-court advantage for Game 6, however, and they are led by a dynamic shot creator in Damian Lillard. Will Barton (hamstring) and PJ Dozier (adductor) remain sidelined for the Nuggets.
Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. ET in Portland. The latest Nuggets vs. Blazers odds from William Hill Sportsbook list Portland as a five-point favorite. The over-under for total points expected is 227.5. Before finalizing any Blazers vs. Nuggets picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned over $9,100 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. The model is up almost $900 on its top-rated picks this season and entered the second full week of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on a stunning 100-66 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread dating back to last season. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Nuggets vs. Blazers spread: Blazers -5
- Nuggets vs. Blazers over-under: 227.5 points
- Nuggets vs. Blazers money line: Blazers -200, Nuggets +175
- DEN: The Nuggets are 5-5 against the spread in the last 10 games
- POR: The Blazers are 6-4 against the spread in the last 10 games
Why the Nuggets can cover
Denver has excellent offensive talent, headlined by Nikola Jokic. Jokic is the NBA's MVP frontrunner after a tremendous regular season, and he is averaging 32.4 points and 11.0 rebounds per game in the series against Portland. Jokic is flanked by Michael Porter Jr., who enjoyed a fantastically efficient season, and Porter Jr. scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in Game 5. Denver's numbers in the series are jarringly impressive, with the team scoring 121.5 points per 100 possessions.
The Nuggets have generated 2.33 assists for every turnover, a tremendous rate, and they are securing 32.3 percent of their own missed shots on the offensive glass in the series. Finally, Denver's efficient offense is further buoyed by top-end ball security, with the Nuggets committing a turnover on just over 11 percent of their offensive possessions in the series. The Nuggets have their hands full with Lillard, but they took Portland's best offensive punch in Game 5 and were able to win anyway.
Why the Blazers can cover
Portland's offense is electric and it can win the Blazers a game at any moment. Lillard can carry his team in almost any situation, as evidenced by a 55-point performance in Game 2 in which he set the postseason record with 12 3-pointers. He averaged 28.8 points per game during the regular season, and the Nuggets don't have the defensive firepower to slow him down. As a team, the Blazers are scoring more than 1.22 points per possession in the series after finishing the regular season with the No. 2 offensive rating (117.1 points per 100 possessions) in the NBA.
Ball security is a huge part of its success, with Portland leading the league in turnover rate (11.2 percent) this year and improving on that with an 11.0 percent turnover rate and an elite assist-to-turnover ratio (2.09) against Denver. The Blazers keep pressure on the opposition by flooding the zone with shooting, and they are a markedly better team in their home building.
How to make Blazers vs. Nuggets picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, projecting 227 combined points. The model also says one side of the spread hits almost 60 percent of the time. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Blazers vs. Nuggets? And which side of the spread hits in almost 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks.