Can Bettors Trust The Nuggets On The Road?

The Nuggets have failed to cover the spread in their last three road games and haven't been reliable away from Denver yet this season

Keith Allison, Flickr
  • The Denver Nuggets have proven that last season was not a fluke by posting a win-loss record of 42-20, the third best mark in the Western Conference. However, Denver has not proven that bettors can rely on them to cover games, especially on the road. The Nuggets are just 13-14 ATS away from Denver this season.

  • The Nuggets’ offense is a model of efficiency. Even though Denver plays at the second-slowest pace in the NBA, their offensive rating still ranks in the top 10 partially because they rarely turn the ball over. However, the Nuggets have not been as careful with the ball on the road as they have been at home. Denver has the sixth-best turnover percentage at home but just the 16th-best turnover percentage on the road.

  • The Nuggets have been notorious for their slow starts on the road. The Nuggets have somehow trailed at the end of the first quarter in 15 of their last 17 road games. Their average first quarter point differential in their last 17 road games is -6.05.

  • The Nuggets surrender more points on the road than at home. At home, Denver gives up 105.6 points per game. On the road, Denver gives up 109.7 points per game.

  • Tonight, the Nuggets will face the lottery-bound Cleveland Cavaliers on the road. Bettors should treat this game as a marker for whether they can trust the Nuggets to cover on the road moving forward. VIEW OUR FULL GAME PAGE for that contest!

Turnovers On The Road

By all indications, the Nuggets are having a terrific season. They are on pace for over 55 wins and would have home court advantage in the first round if the playoffs started today. However, bettors counting on the Nuggets to cover spreads on the road have not had a good season. The Nuggets are just 13-14 ATS away from Denver. In their last three road games, Denver did not come close at all to covering the spread.

The Nuggets maintain an incredibly efficient offense despite not having anyone on their roster among the top 20 players in scoring average per game. Denver’s offensive rating is one of the 10 best in the NBA even though the Nuggets hit the sixth fewest three-point field goals per game and play at the second-slowest pace. The Nuggets do excel at taking care of the ball as they rank in the top 10 in fewest turnovers per game.

The Nuggets’ discipline with the ball becomes much more pedestrian away from Denver. The NBA defines turnover percentage as the percentage of a team’s plays that end in a turnover. At home, the Nuggets’ turnover percentage is the sixth-best in the league. On the road, the Nuggets’ turnover percentage falls to just the 16th-best.

Slow Starts

The Nuggets have taken years off their backers’ lives with the way in which they have started road games this season. The Nuggets have trailed at the end of the first quarter in 15 of their last 17 road games. Their first quarter deficits have not been particularly small either as their average first quarter point differential in their last 17 road games is -6.05, an astounding number for an elite team. Denver has even trailed by double-digits at the end of the first quarter in six of these games.

To the Nuggets’ credit, they did come back to win many of these games. But it has been difficult for bettors to back a team on the road that so frequently spots an opponent the lead at the end of the first quarter.

Less Defense Without The Denver Altitude

Opponents have been much more successful at scoring against the Nuggets away from Denver. At home, the Nuggets give up on average 105.6 points per game. On the road, the Nuggets give up on average 109.7 points per game. It’s not particularly surprising that the Nuggets surrender significantly more points on the road. At home, the Nuggets can use the Denver altitude to defensively overwhelm opponents that are not accustomed to playing in such conditions. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, the Denver altitude does not travel with them on the road.

Looking Ahead

Sports bettors face a dilemma with the Nuggets. Should investors assume that an elite team like the Nuggets will eventually cover games at an elite percentage on the road? Or should bettors just stay away from the Nuggets whenever they play away from Denver?

Saturday night’s contest between the Nuggets and the Cavaliers in Cleveland should provide bettors with a better idea as to how to approach the Nuggets on the road for the rest of the season. The moribund Cavaliers are precisely the type of home team that the Nuggets should beat handily and cover against. If Denver comes out flat in another road game and struggles again to get their backers to the window against the lowly Cavaliers, bettors should probably think harder before purchasing another Nuggets ATS ticket when they’re on the road. 

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