Cleveland Cavaliers vs Denver Nuggets Preview (1/6/23): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

Cleveland hopes to get past its road struggles when it travels to Denver on Friday night to face the Nuggets. Our predictions, betting picks, and updated odds are below, as well as the projected starting lineups and injury reports.

Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Denver Nuggets Betting Odds

The Denver Nuggets are favored by 6.5 points at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland is opting to rest superstar Donovan Mitchell after a busy week that saw him score 71 points in a single game. Dean Wade, Dylan Windler, and Ricky Rubio will also miss the game, while Darius Garland is a game-time decision. Denver will be without Jeff Green, Collin Gillespie, and Peyton Watson, so its bench will lack a bit of depth; however, all of its starters are available to play after a blowout win against the Los Angeles Clippers the night before.

Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Denver Nuggets Prediction

Cleveland looks to be “punting” this game by resting Donovan Mitchell. Darius Garland may be a late scratch, too, due to a lingering thumb injury. This would be a smart spot to do it, too, especially considering it is on the road against the best team in the Western Conference, and Mitchell is just days removed from posting 71 points,11 assists, and eight rebounds against Chicago.

If Garland plays, the Cavs could keep it close, but their road struggles this season have made them an abysmal team against the spread when they are away from Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. While Denver is on the second night of a back-to-back, it was able to rest all of its starters a substantial amount after blowing the Los Angeles Clippers out. The Nuggets have every key rotational player (besides Jeff Green) healthy, and have been one of the top three teams at home this season. This is a great spot to roll with Denver against the spread.

Betting Trends

  • Cleveland is 5-10-2 ATS on the road in 2022-23
  • Denver is 10-7 ATS at home in 2022-23
  • The combined over record of these two teams is 37-39 in 2022-23

Key Matchups

Look no further than Nikola Jokic versus the Cleveland frontcourt for our key matchup of the game. See which has the advantage relative to the usual performance and output below!

Jokic vs. Cleveland Frontcourt

The Cavaliers have the best defensive rating in the NBA through roughly half of the 2022-23 NBA season, and their frontcourt is a huge reason for this. Cleveland allows the second-fewest points in the paint and ranks second in opponent non-blocked 2P%. Basically, the Cavs are an incredibly tough matchup for opposing big men.

Jokic has been historic once again this season, despite losing some volume to Michael Porter Jr, Jamal Murray, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. In his past 13 games (excluding the blowout win against the Clippers), Jokic has averaged close to 30 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists per game. No big man has ever done what he is doing right now, but we have simply become desensitized to it.

Still, it is important to consider recent history. In the past five matchups, Jokic has only averaged 18.4 points, 11 rebounds, and 8.2 assists. While those numbers are still impressive, they are far less than what we have come to expect from “The Joker.” These matchups are always based on relativity, so relatively speaking, the Cavs have a slight advantage. Advantage: Cleveland Frontcourt.

Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineup

PG: Darius Garland
SG: Caris LeVert
SF: Lamar Stevens
PF: Evan Mobley
C: Jarrett Allen

Denver Nuggets Starting Lineups

PG: Jamal Murray
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Michael Porter Jr
PF: Aaron Gordon
C: Nikola Jokic

Key Injuries

Cleveland Cavaliers Injuries: Darius Garland (Q), Dean Wade (Out), Dylan Windler (Out), Ricky Rubio (Out), Donovan Mitchell (Out)

Denver Nuggets Injuries: Collin Gillespie (Out), Peyton Watson (Out), Jeff Green (Out)

Drew is one of the NBA Lead Writers at, specializing in betting content such as game predictions and player props. With a deep knowledge of players and prospects, Drew has an extensive edge in covering everything NBA.

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