The Denver Nuggets–Portland Trail Blazers Western Conference semifinal series is seen by many people as the weaker side of the West bracket. However, the series has provided viewers with endless excitement.
Denver now holds a 3-2 lead, but there has been a wild four-overtime game and three other contests that have been decided by seven points or fewer. While Game 5 in Denver was a blowout by the Nuggets, Game 6 in Portland today should be much closer (10:30pm ET Thursday on ESPN).
We’ll do some analyzing of the key factors surrounding this matchup before we finally making some Denver Nuggets vs Portland Trail Blazers predictions on this Game 6 in relation to the main betting lines available online.
Is Al-Farouq Aminu Going to Step Up?
This has not been the best series for Aminu. The Blazers forward had a solid Game 4 with 19 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. In the other four games, though, he is putting up 5.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 2 turnovers in 32.3 minutes per game. His shooting slash in those games is 21.9/15.4/75.
Unfortunately, Aminu has also struggled significantly in stopping Nuggets big man Paul Millsap. Millsap has a wider, thicker frame than Aminu and is bullying him down low. He’s averaging a very efficient 19 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in the series.
On offense, Aminu has to start dropping in the open threes Denver is giving him to help space the floor for Portland. Defensively, Aminu needs to be feistier in the post and try not to allow Millsap to get good position close to the basket.
Is Will Barton Going to Keep Taking and Making Threes Confidently?
The Nuggets have struggled to get quality production from their bench in this series. Monte Morris has been bad, Mason Plumlee has been less impactful than he was in the regular season and Malik Beasley has been decent.
Barton, like many of his fellow Denver reserves, has also struggled for much of the postseason. His slight, 6’6” frame isn’t taking contact well at the rim, leading to lots of missed layups. His three-point shot has also been mostly off, but that has been coming around as of late.
In his last three contests, Barton has made eight of his 20 shots from downtown, compared to just six makes in 29 attempts in his first nine playoff games. Denver needs those shots from Barton to keep falling, since the squad has had some major dud games from downtown this postseason. Games 1, 6 and 7 against the San Antonio Spurs and Game 3 against the Trail Blazers come to mind.
Will Fatigue Be a Factor for Portland?
A lot of things went wrong for the Blazers in their blowout loss in Game 5. One of the biggest problems, though, was their terrible free-throw shooting. Portland made just 16 of its 30 free throws (53.3 percent) despite finishing second in the regular season in free-throw percentage (81.4).
The poor free-throw shooting could be emblematic of a bigger problem for the Blazers: fatigue. Obviously, these teams played an insane four-overtime Game 4 and have been mostly very close throughout the rest of the series. However, all throughout the series it has felt like Portland is the team taking more difficult shots and working harder to stay competitive. Denver moves the ball better and often doesn’t expend as much energy on offense. Portland’s roster is a bit weaker than Denver’s, especially with Jusuf Nurkic out, and the squad has had to compensate with a lot of effort.
In Game 6, the Blazers’ season is on the line at home. Will they have enough juice to extend the series or will they look gassed?
Our Betting Preview’s Denver Nuggets vs Portland Trail Blazers Picks & Predictions Verdict For Game 6
Home-court advantage will help for Portland, but will the team have enough talent and energy to pull out a victory? I have doubts about that. Denver also probably won’t pull away, because its three-point shooting is unreliable.
As far as the total points in this game, I can see it being on the higher-scoring side as the Nuggets try to run the ball in transition to take advantage of a tired Portland. The Blazers will have to shoot threes to combat the Nuggets’ scoring in transition. The Denver Nuggets vs Portland Trail Blazers predictions for this Game 6, with picks, go like this:
- Portland is a favorite by 4 points with all major USA betting outlets. Your best option here is putting money on the Nuggets +4pts @ -110 with Bovada, Intertops or BetOnline.
- The projected over/under for this game is pretty average, at 215 or 215.5 total points. Because of the factors outlined above, you should bet the over 215pts @ -115 with Bookmaker.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.