Denver Nuggets vs Portland Trail Blazers Preview (12/8/22): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

Two of the top eight teams in the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers, showdown in what will most certainly be an entertaining matchup. Check out the entire breakdown below, including in-depth analysis, updated odds, projected starting lineups, and applicable injuries that could impact the trajectory of this game!

Denver Nuggets Vs. Portland Trail Blazers Betting Odds

The Denver Nuggets are one-point road favorites against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night. Denver still will miss the injury-prone Michael Porter Jr, while Portland won’t have Gary Payton II or Keon Johnson at its disposal. For the most part, these two teams have remained healthy, which could prove to be advantageous by the end of the season!

Denver Nuggets Vs. Portland Trail Blazers Prediction

After Portland’s red-hot start to the 2022-23 season, it has cooled off quite a bit. It now stands at eighth place in the Western Conference, which seems about right when considering talent level, depth, and all other important factors. Guard play is definitely not an issue with Anfernee Simons and Damian Lillard heading up the Blazers’ backcourt. Together, they average roughly 50 points, 11 assists, and seven rebounds behind terrific three-point shooting and playmaking.

For Denver, it just can’t seem to keep its main core healthy. Michael Porter Jr has struggled with injuries, even before he came into the NBA. His skill level has never been questioned, but it doesn’t matter how good he is if he never sees the floor! In this case, Denver has struggled at times this season without MPJ; it has a 5-3 record in eight games with him sidelined. His sharpshooting, size, and isolation talent give the Nuggets another layer to add to their offense. I’m afraid that without him, they just aren’t as big of a threat as they could be.

Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers have their entire core healthy, including All-Star guard Damian Lillard and rising star Anfernee Simons. When Lillard plays, the Blazers are 8-4 this season. Regardless, the only teams that usually beat Denver are defensive-centric squads, and Portland is far from that. If this game turns into a shootout, the Nuggets have a clear advantage. I’ll grab their moneyline in this one.

Betting Trends

  • Denver is 6-9 ATS on the road in 2022-23
  • Portland is 5-5 ATS at home in 2022-23
  • The combined over record of these two teams is 21-25-2 in 2022-23

Key Matchups

The key matchup will be the battle of the bigs: Jusuf Nurkic vs. Nikola Jokic. Nurkic and Jokic were former teammates in Denver, but the Nuggets decided that they should move one of them as they could likely not coexist; it turns out that they made the right decision keeping the two-time MVP. Nurkic has had a successful career himself, though. Check out a more in-depth analysis of this matchup below!

Jusuf Nurkic vs. Nikola Jokic

Few big men in the NBA are as familiar with Nikola Jokic as Jusuf Nurkic; they used to play together in Denver and have relatively similarly styled games. Jokic has not had as much success against Nurkic as he has had against the rest of the league.

As a matter of fact, Jokic has merely averaged 19 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 7.2 assists against Nurkic on a 53/32/85 shooting split in 13 games. Imagine listing out those stats and saying that a player hasn’t had much success against the other; however, this is the case, as everything is relative when it comes to a player as talented as Jokic.

In their last battle, Jokic finished with nine points, nine rebounds, and nine assists in 27 minutes of play. That was just six weeks ago! Meanwhile, Nurkic posted 13 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists! By no means do I believe Nurkic will outplay Jokic in this one, but Nurkic has the advantage relative to “The Joker’s” usual offensive output. Advantage: Nurkic.

Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup

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

Portland Trail Blazers Starting Lineups

PG: Damian Lillard
SG: Anfernee Simons
SF: Josh Hart
PF: Jerami Grant
C: Jusuf Nurkic

Key Injuries

Denver Nuggets Injuries: Michael Porter Jr (Out), Collin Gillespie (Out)

Portland Trail Blazers Injuries: Gary Payton II (Out), Keon Johnson (Out)

Drew is one of the NBA Lead Writers at Lineups.com, 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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