Clippers vs. Nuggets prediction and odds for Thursday, January 5 (Trust Denver at home)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Nuggets are looking to hold on to the top spot in the Western Conference when they host the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night in Denver.

Both of these teams had two days off coming into this game, but the Clippers could be down a key player in Paul George, who is questionable with a hamstring injury.

Denver is one of the best teams in the NBA at home, going 14-3 straight up this season. The Nuggets need a win to keep pace in the West, as the Memphis Grizzlies, who have the same record as them, could surpass them with a win over the Orlando Magic tonight.

Right now, Denver is a five-point favorite, but this line could move if George is out of the lineup. Los Angeles certainly hopes that he will be able to play, as the team has lost three straight games to fall into the No. 6 spot in the West.

Let’s dive into the odds and a pick for this showdown between two contenders in the Western Conference:

Clippers vs. Nuggets odds, spread and total

Clippers vs. Nuggets prediction and pick

Denver has been terrific this season on offense, ranking second in the NBA, but the one drawback for the team has been its defensive rating, coming in 25th in the league.

However, that number improves to 10th (!) in the NBA when the team is at home. It’s a big reason why Denver has a 14-3 record at Ball Arena.

Even though the Nuggets are just 8-7 against the spread as home favorites this season, they are covering those games by an average margin of 8.7 points.

The Clippers have been struggling, and losing George would certainly hurt the team’s offense, which ranks 27th in the NBA.

That’s where I see the advantage for Denver, as the team has been elite on offense, especially at home.

Find Peter Dewey’s full betting record here.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.