Clippers vs. Nuggets Free NBA Picks for March 22

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets drives to the basket. Justin Tafoya/Getty Images/AFP

The Denver Nuggets should have little trouble beating the Los Angeles Clippers this Tuesday. But can Denver beat the NBA odds?

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 – 10:00 PM EDT at Ball Arena

The Denver Nuggets deserve some respect. They get none. Despite the absence of Jamal Murray (knee) for the entire season, and despite not having Michael Porter Jr. (back) since early November, the Nuggets are hanging in there at 42-30 SU and 32-39-1 ATS, good for seventh place in the Western Conference standings as we go to press.

Also doing remarkably well despite multiple injuries: the Los Angeles Clippers (36-37 SU and ATS). But the Clippers do get plenty of respect, and as a result, they’re not getting the points they require to cover Tuesday’s matchup in Denver.

The Clippers opened as 6.5-point underdogs at Caesars Sportsbook and remain there at press time. That’s a bucket or two short of where they need to be for your NBA picks.

Joker’s Wild

The Nuggets might not have Murray or Porter in uniform, but they do have the league’s reigning MVP in Nikola Jokic. He should be this year’s favorite, too, based on nearly every single advanced metric the sport has to offer – including the following categories at Basketball Reference:

  • Player Efficiency Rating (PER): 32.4
  • Win Shares: 13.2 Win Shares per 48 minutes: 0.294
  • Box Plus/Minus (BPM): 13.8
  • Value Over Replacement Player (VORP): 8.5

Despite these eye-popping numbers, which are at least as good or even better than what Jokic delivered last year, he’s only the +135 second-favorite on the NBA odds board at DraftKings. Joel Embiid is in the lead at –160.

Voters seem disinterested in giving Jokic his due a second time; the media’s attention has even turned to the scoring race instead, where Embiid, LeBron James, and Giannis Antetokounmpo are in a virtual tie at 29.8 points per game. Jokic is ninth overall at 26.1 points.

Three-Card Monte

This fascination with raw scoring stats is one of the many things that makes betting on the NBA so potentially profitable. It also helps when the spotlight’s always shining on those large-market teams like the Clippers.

While the “B-team” in Los Angeles has some betting value of its own sans Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, bettors are overlooking the commendably league-average performances the Nuggets have gotten from the likes of Monte Morris, Will Barton, Davon Reed, and several others.

Having said that, these teams have already faced each other three times this year, and the Clippers covered all three despite going 1-2 SU. That includes their most recent game on January 19, in which the Nuggets won 130-128 in overtime as 9.5-point home faves.

Seeing the NBA lines shift so dramatically based on such a small sample size is a bit jarring, especially when it should be virtually the same two lineups doing battle this Tuesday. Bet accordingly.

NBA Pick: Nuggets –6.5 (–110) with Caesars