Normally, Thursday night's Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets game would be one of the top matchups of the regular season in the Western Conference. The Nuggets are +325 favorites to win the West at Caesars Sportsbook, and the Warriors are +375. However oddsmakers clearly expect the Warriors to rest Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry in the second half of a back-to-back as Denver is a whopping 12-point favorite.
If this spread sticks, the game would feature the longest odds Golden State has faced since March 4, 2021 when it was +12.5 at Phoenix and lost 120-98. The Warriors have been double-digit underdogs a few times when severely short-handed this season, most recently when they were +10.5 at Cleveland on Jan. 20 when Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins all sat. Yet the Warriors won anyway by making 23 3-pointers. Jordan Poole dropped 32 points and Ty Jerome, who barely plays otherwise, contributed 22.
Thompson seems a lock to sit tonight -- he hasn't played both ends of a back-to-back all season after missing the previous two full campaigns with a major injury. It's not out of the question that Green and Wiggins sit. Curry has played in a few back-to-backs. He just had a 29-point, 10-rebound effort on Wednesday at Minnesota, the only Warriors player to score more than 18 in the game. Golden State led by 14 in the fourth quarter yet lost 119-114 in overtime. Curry has recorded double-doubles in each of the last three games (34.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 8.7 assists per game in that span).
Golden State, which is 5-5 in second halves of back-to-backs this season, is now 7-19 on the road. Thursday's game concludes a three-game trip. Wednesday's was the eighth game this season in which the Warriors had a double-digit lead but did not win.
Denver (35-16) leads the West by three games. Only the Boston Celtics (37-15) have a better record. The only key player on Denver's injury report is forward Aaron Gordon, who is questionable. He averages 16.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
MVP favorite Nikola Jokic comes off his 16th triple-double performance of the season, putting up 26 points, 18 rebounds and 15 assists in Tuesday's win over New Orleans. It was the first time in Jokic's career he reached at least 26/18/15 in a game. He became just the fifth player in NBA history with 26/18/15, joining Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird and Russell Westbrook, and Jokic did it in the fewest minutes (38).
The Nuggets were defeated by the Warriors in five games in the first round of the 2022 playoffs but have won four of the past five regular-season matchups. The lone meeting so far this season was back on Oct. 21 in San Francisco with Denver winning 128-123. Jokic had 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Curry had 34 points and Thompson scored 16.
Picks: NFL | NBA | CFB | CBB
DFS: Lineup Optimizer | Picks
Early Edge: YouTube | Apple Podcasts
Newsletters: SportsLine Daily | Fantasy
Qualifying SportsLine members receive a 30-day free trial of Paramount+ premium. Sync your account right here.
Share This Story