The play-in tournament is behind us and we’re on to the first round. We’ll be doing previews for every series. Here is the Portland Trail Blazers vs Denver Nuggets betting preview.

Here’s what I’m thinking for the first round of the NBA playoffs. Below this blurb are all the ranks for each team that I will discuss. Use this as a resource. I’ve consolidated offensive and defensive ranks (equation at bottom of table), offensive and defensive preferences, and pace of play. I’ve also tacked on recent performance, key injuries, and betting trends.

The hope is that we find overlap between a team strength and another team weakness, or vice versa. This is nothing more than a guide. I’ll be making a few picks at the end, but I hope more than anything that this helps give you a look into how each team matches up.

These series previews will be all-encompassing. Logically, any advantage that would apply for one team should hold pat for the entire series.

Let’s get to it. Follow me on Twitter, @griffybets, for all things NBA this postseason. Drop me a line with any feedback or ideas for stats you’d like to see included!

Portland Trail BlazersDenver Nuggets
Offense rank: 7

Threes rank: 3

Pts in paint: 30


Defense rank: 27

Perimeter D: 20

Opp. pts in paint: 14


Pace: 12

Offense rank: 6

Threes rank: 10

Pts in paint: 8


Defense rank: 13

Perimeter D: 13

Opp. pts in paint: 6


Pace: 18

Last 10 GamesLast 10 Games



ATS recordATS record



O/U recordO/U record




Odds to win SeriesOdds to win Series




Regular Season Head-to-Head

Nuggets won, 2-1

  • Offensive/Defensive ranks calculated by averaging (points per game, EFG% and efficiency)
  • Pace calculated by averaging (field goals attempted per game and possessions per game)
  • Threes/Perimeter defense calculated by averaging (threes made per game and 3P%)

Shoutout to for the above stats. That site has everything you could ever ask for – this is just a taste of the numbers they consolidate for you. Consider perusing the site to dig into areas of the game you’re curious about.

Series Schedule: Portland Trail Blazers vs Denver Nuggets

Game 1: Saturday 5/22 at 10:30 PM EST

Game 2: 5/24

Game 3: 5/27

Game 4: 5/29

Game 5: 6/1

Game 6: 6/3

Game 7: 6/5

Thoughts on the Series: Portland Trail Blazers vs Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets need to get Nikola Jokic some help |

It’s been shocking to see how well Denver has held up without Jamal Murray. Nikola Jokic cemented his MVP status this last month running the show, so don’t take these Nuggets lightly just because they lost Murray.

For the life of me I can’t understand why Portland is favored to win this series. Look at those rankings above! Denver is one of the most balanced teams in the entire NBA. Yes, Damian Lillard is one of the best offensive players in the league, and Portland should score their fare share of points.

But, the difference between Denver’s offense and Portland’s defense is egregious – and one we must target.

The Nuggets’ defense is steady, the same cannot be said for the Blazers.

Like we touch in our Heat-Bucks preview, you can’t underestimate what playoff experience means. Lillard has had his postseason success, but this Nuggets team made it to the Western Conference finals just last year.

I love Denver at this value, I’ll likely bet the Nuggets in every game and most definitely to win this series at +110.

Stat Leaders for Each Team

If you want to include some Blazers/Nuggets in your DFS lineups or prop picks, the below players are where I’d recommend starting.


  • Damian Lillard: 28.8 ppg, 10.5 3PApg, 39.1% 3P%
  • CJ McCollum: 23.1 ppg, 8.9 3PApg
  • Enes Kanter: 11.0 rpg


  • Nikola Jokic: 45.5 PRApg, 56.6% FG%
  • Michael Porter Jr: 19.0 ppg, 44.5% 3P%

Favorite Bets for the Series

Damian Lillard Denies Link with Chris Haynes Story - Blazer's Edge

Load me up on Denver throughout this one. Lillard is going to have monster games, but his totals will align with that expectation. On paper, there’s nothing that says we need to force a bet on Portland. So, we won’t.

Instead, give me Denver’s team total overs in every game against this poor defense, some Jokic and MPJ, and a series winner.

GriffyBets Nightly Targets: Denver TEAM TOTAL OVERs, Jokic OVER PRA, Michael Porter Jr OVER points

Series winner: Denver +110

Stay tuned for more NBA betting previews throughout the week. We’ll be breaking down each series here on

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Griffin’s working to find betting value where others may not. With a main focus on the NFL, consider Griffin your go-to resource for matchup breakdowns, including in the trenches and receivers vs. corners. Follow @griffybets on Twitter for more articles and videos. NBA breakdowns will be the primary focus during the NFL offseason.