Two of the biggest Western Conference contenders battle in what will be a very territorial matchup. Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors will host Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. Check out my prediction and picks, the projected starting lineups, applicable injuries, and current odds below!
Denver Nuggets Vs. Golden State Warriors Betting Odds
Golden State is a six-point home favorite against the fully healthy Denver Nuggets after demolishing the Los Angeles Lakers in its first game. While the final score ended up being only a 14-point deficit, Golden State controlled the game after an explosive third quarter. Meanwhile, Denver had an incredibly disappointing season-opener against the rebuilding Utah Jazz; it lost by 21 points in a blowout. For the other popular bet, the point total sits at 229.5, which is quite high for most teams in the NBA. However, it does make some sense considering the Nuggets allowed the abysmal Jazz to drop 123 points in their first game.
Denver Nuggets Vs. Golden State Warriors Prediction
Denver looked horrendous in its first game against the Utah Jazz; it allowed almost every Jazz player that stepped on the floor to reach double-digit points. To be fair, it was the first regular season game that Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr, and Nikola Jokic have played together in roughly a year and a half, so there were bound to be some growing pains. I’m still a big believer in the Nuggets this season, but not completely sold on how they’re playing right now.
Meanwhile, Golden State handily dealt with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning by 14 points in its season-opener. That outcome was expected, so it doesn’t tell us too much about the state of the Dubs, as the Lakers are a complete mess. Still, Golden State’s depth is impressive, and Steph Curry looked great in the season-opener, further proving that Father Time hasn’t caught up to him quite yet. With James Wiseman now healthy and able to back up Kevon Looney if he gets into foul trouble or becomes gassed by teams that play fast-paced basketball, the Dubs now have depth at every position.
Denver went 3-1 last season against the Golden State Warriors, with two of those three wins coming on the road, which is something worth considering. The Nuggets had moments last season where they could be a bit inconsistent, so I’m not going to overreact to their bad road loss against Utah, especially since MPJ, Murray, and Jokic haven’t played together in quite some time. Six points is a lot to lay down here, and while the Warriors will be great again this year, so will Denver. I’ll take Denver ATS and the Golden State Moneyline.
- Denver was 23-21 ATS as a road team in 2021-22
- Golden State was 32-19-2 ATS as the home team in 2021-22
- Denver had an over record of 49-36-2 in 2021-22
- Golden State had an over record of 47-55-2 in 2021-22
There are an abundance of key matchups between the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors, but the two most important ones are Nikola Jokic versus the Warriors’ frontcourt and Steph Curry versus the Nuggets’ backcourt. Take a look at my entire analysis of these matchups below!
Nikola Jokic vs.Warriors’ Frontcourt
Nikola Jokic had a historic 2021-22 season; he finished with the highest single-season PER (player efficiency rating) in the history of the NBA. At the end of the season, Jokic was averaging roughly 27 points, 14 rebounds, and eight assists. However, in four games against Golden State, he put up a mindblowing average of 28 points, 16 rebounds, and nine assists.
Jokic is a walking mismatch, and he causes serious issues for Golden State, often getting Kevon Looney in foul trouble when they match up. Last season, Golden State struggled with frontcourt depth, but if Looney gets in foul trouble this game, the Dubs can still throw James Wiseman or Draymond Green at him. Jokic won’t be stopped, but could be relatively contained, especially since Golden State has the discipline, defensive IQ, and bodies to throw at him!
Steph Curry vs.Nuggets’ Backcourt
Last season, the Denver Nuggets were horrendous at defending opposing lead guards. This year’s Nuggets team looks a bit different since Monte Morris was traded and Jamal Murray is back from his knee injury, but that does not mean all of their previous defensive problems on the point of attack are fixed. In their first game this season, they allowed Collin Sexton to score 20 points in 21 minutes; if this is any indication of how poorly the Nuggets will defend Steph Curry, then he could have a massive day.
Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup
Golden State Warriors Starting Lineups
Denver Nuggets Injuries: None
Golden State Warriors Injuries: Andre Iguodala (Out)