Clippers vs. Nuggets NBA Odds and Free Picks for Wednesday

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

The Denver Nuggets might be a bargain NBA pick as 6.5-point home faves for Wednesday’s tilt with the short-handed Los Angeles Clippers.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets

Wednesday, January 19, 2022 – 10:00 PM EST at Ball Arena

From a basketball perspective, the Los Angeles Clippers are obviously a weaker team without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the floor. But are they a better choice for your NBA picks? It doesn’t appear so. Already without Leonard (knee) for what could be the entire season – although his recovery is said to be ahead of schedule – the Clippers are 5-8 SU and 6-7 ATS since George (elbow) went on the injured list.

As it happens, two of those games were against their opponents this Wednesday. The Denver Nuggets visited then-STAPLES Center on December 26 and beat L.A. 103-100 in their first game without George – but the Clippers covered as 4-point underdogs. Then they slipped past Denver 87-85 as 2.5-point home dogs on January 11. As we go to press, the Nuggets are 6.5-point favorites on Wednesday’s NBA odds board at SBK; maybe that’s a bit generous given these recent results.

A Pure Kennard

Then again, the third chapter in this trilogy isn’t quite the same as the other two. Aaron Gordon wasn’t available for Denver (22-20 SU, 18-24 ATS) in that first game; Gordon has been performing at roughly league-average for the Nuggets, which makes him a valuable commodity on a team with some injury concerns of its own. He scored 30 points on 11-of-16 shooting in that second game at STAPLES.

The Clippers could also be without one of their players from Game 1. Luke Kennard, their starting shooting guard for most of December, has yet to play in January after entering the league’s COVID-19 protocols. Kennard has cleared those protocols, but is still considered questionable to play Wednesday because of conditioning concerns. If he does play, Kennard should be rusty for at least a game or two, and he’ll be stealing minutes from Amir Coffey, who has outperformed Kennard on paper.

Slow Your Roll

Those personnel changes make it harder to recommend the Clippers for Wednesday’s matchup. Do they swing the pendulum far enough in Denver’s direction? Possibly. But there’s also a 212.5-point total on the NBA lines at MaximBet, and that might be the better way to go after both the other games went comfortably Under.

Note that Wednesday’s total is about the same as it was for the games in Los Angeles (212 for Game 1, 213.5 for Game 2), even though the venue has shifted to Denver, where the Mile High air can really take the starch out of visiting teams. The Nuggets are already one of the slowest teams in the NBA at 98.6 possessions per game (No. 26 overall); with both sides thin in the backcourt, that pace could slow to a crawl in this matchup. Bet accordingly.

NBA Pick: Under 212.5 (–105) at MaximBet