The playoff race in the Western Conference is heating up which makes the slate of games and our Saturday NBA picks all the more interesting. BetRivers.com is proud to provide a wide variety of Saturday NBA odds, props and teasers. Saturday’s marquee matchup pits the Los Angeles Clippers, currently in third place in the West against the Denver Nuggets, winners of four straight and just half a game behind the Clippers in fourth place. But that isn’t the only Saturday NBA pick we’re getting to as the Golden State Warriors, the final team currently in the Play-In Tournament travel to Houston to take on the Rockets, owners of the worst record in the NBA.
Longtime basketball writer Rob Dauster, the co-founder of The Field of 68 Podcast Network is here to provide his Saturday NBA picks with in-depth analysis on Clipper vs. Nuggets and Rockets vs. Warriors.
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DENVER NUGGETS (42-21) at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (43-21), 10:10 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Clippers -200 ML. Nuggets +165 ML
SPREAD: Clippers -5
OVER/UNDER: 221.5 points
Click here for the full list of Clippers-Nuggets odds.
Remember how worried we all were that the Nuggets were about to go belly-up without Jamal Murray leading the way?
So much for that.
Despite the fact that they are missing Monte Morris and Will Barton as well as Murray, three of their top eight players, Denver has won eight of nine since Murray tore his ACL. They went 13-3 in April (we’re just going to ignore the fact that they played 16 games in a month that is 30 days long) and they’ve won 25 of their last 31 games overall.
How are they doing it?
Well, Nikola Jokic is playing the way that you would expect an MVP to play. Michael Porter Jr. is looking like the guy we thought he was before undergoing back surgery and they’ve been playing elite defense despite the fact that Jokic and Porter are not what you would call elite defenders.
Should I mention that, on Saturday night, they draw a Clippers team without Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka?
Look, the Clippers have a point to prove based on what happened in the Playoffs back in the bubble. But given the way the Nuggets are playing and who the Clippers are missing, I do think that there is some value on Denver in this spot. I also like the under here. Denver plays slow and is really, really defending well against a team missing their best player.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (31-32) at HOUSTON ROCKETS (16-47), 7:40 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Warriors -375 ML, Rockets +295 ML
SPREAD: Warriors -8
OVER/UNDER: 323.5 points
Click here for the full list of Rockets-Warriors odds.
It’s hard to believe that just three years ago, the Warriors and the Rockets were facing off in the Western Conference Finals in a game that featured Kevin Durant, James Harden, Chris Paul and Klay Thompson. Fast forward to 2021, and the Rockets have traded everyone away and are actively trying to lose basketball games while playing the likes of Armoni Brooks and D.J. Wilson. The Warriors? They did the same thing with more or less the same team last season.
This year, they are on the fringe of the playoff race thanks to the presence of Steph Curry who has been superhuman. For my money, he is the Most Valuable Player in the NBA, even if his team is not good enough to truly give him a shot at winning the award. The Warriors got the second pick in last year’s draft without him. They are 1-7 on the season without him. They are 12-22 this season in games where Steph doesn’t play or scores under 30 points.
Eight points is a lot of points here, especially as the Rockets are coming off of a win. But Kevin Porter Jr. isn’t going for 50 and 11 again, the Rockets have lost by double digits in 27 of their last 43 games and, again, they are actively trying to tank.
Bet the Warriors, especially if Draymond Green plays.