1pm AEDT Thursday, October 24 at Moda Center, Portland
The opening match of the 2019 NBA season for the Portland Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets is a rematch of last term’s Western Conference semi-final.
Portland won that series and knocked out the Nuggets, creating a very strong rivalry between the two franchises.
There are few injuries to either team at this point, but the Trail Blazers are going to have to manage the void of Jusuf Nurkic as he works back from a broken leg.
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The Nuggets did not make any major trades in the offseason and remain a strong roster, but the Blazers picked up Hassan Whiteside, a very crafty and athletic center.
Nikola Jokic has the capacity to become an MVP candidate this season, and with Gary Harris developing further alongside Jamal Murray, the Nuggets are extremely dangerous on the offensive end.
The home court advantage will be helpful for Portland in this clash as the crowd in Oregon love to get their Blazers roused early.
Nuggets vs Trail Blazers betting predictions
Damian Lillard over 30 points
After a handful of legendary playoff performances last season, you can officially say Damian Lillard is one of the league’s best players. Alongside his partner in crime, CJ McCollum, Lillard forces his opponents into vulnerable positions from where he can score with freedom. Dame can make a huge announcement in his opening night of the season with a 30-point game. The Nuggets do not have a lock-down guard to stop Lillard.
Paul Millsap over 16 points
A veteran scorer, Paul Millsap has been a solid contributor for over 10 years in the NBA, but his last two seasons for the Nuggets have been interrupted. A strong preseason and a more important role for the Nuggets will see Millsap back at his best. He will score often when he is on the court and become a focal point for Denver this season.
Total match points over 219.5 @ $1.91 with Sportsbet
These two teams faced off in the preseason and enjoyed a few high-scoring matches, but the regular season will see both sides give more minutes to their better players. Lillard and McCollum can get 50 by themselves, whilst Nikola Jokic can facilitate enough to get the Nuggets a large total. Both teams have capable bench players that will keep the scoreboard ticking.
Portland Trail Blazers to win @ $1.83 with Bet365
The addition of Hassan Whiteside has not been given much publicity, but it is a very big move from the Blazers as he is such an explosive and smart center. Role players such as Mario Hezonja and Zach Collins are crucial for Portland this season and will emphasise their potential in this match.
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