Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers: The best player prop bets for Nov. 23
The Denver Nuggets visit the Portland Trail Blazers tonight, with both teams entering with identical 9-8 records. The Nuggets are shorthanded and stumbling in the standings recently with Nikola Jokic likely a game-time decision with a sore wrist. The Blazers, meanwhile, have rediscovered their tried and true offense-first formula and are looking for their fourth straight win.
Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers tips off at 10:00 p.m. ET on TNT, and we have the three best player prop bets below.
Wed, November 24 2021, 3:00 AM
POR Trail Blazers
JUSUF NURKIC OVER/UNDER 23.5 POINTS, REBOUNDS, and ASSISTS
It has been something of a strange season for the player affectionately known in Portland as the "Bosnian Beast".
Despite posting the highest efficiency numbers of his career, Nurkic has seen his touches and playing time reduced to career lows in Chauncey Billups' rotations. He currently has just an 18.5% usage rate and is playing less than 23 minutes per game in his last five outings.
Portland’s offseason moves were primarily made to fortify the backup behind Nurkic, by bringing in Larry Nance Jr. and Cody Zeller, but they’ve also had the effect of making Nurkic less important to the Blazers' overall success. Billups has been going with Nance Jr. as the small-ball closing center the last few games, and it’s a trend that is likely to continue. While this total might not seem like much, Nurkic has less opportunity than ever to hit it.
NORMAN POWELL OVER/UNDER 15.5 POINTS
Life is pretty good for Norman Powell. Not only did he collect a $90 million contract in the offseason, but his job has never been easier. Powell is clearly the third option behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who draw the opponent's best defenders every night. Powell, meanwhile, wins the game on the margins, taking advantage of what is usually a favorable matchup on the wing.
Though he rarely commandeers the offense for long stretches, Powell makes the most of his opportunities. He’s an absurdly efficient player, with a 58% effective field goal percentage. That would be an indication of some hot shooting for most wings, but that’s actually right around Powell’s recent year-over-year average. And while a lot of that is his stellar 44.6% 3-point mark, an even bigger piece is where he takes most of his shots.
Powell takes 45% of his shots at the rim, 90th percentile among all wings, per Cleaning the Glass. Without Jokic, the Nuggets have next to zero rim protection, and Powell should feast inside. But even should he play, the Nuggets scheme has Jokic frequently come to the level on ball screens, leaving Powell opportunity to cut to the basket off-ball.
DAMIAN LILLARD OVER/UNDER 3.5 3-POINTERS MADE
After winning Western Conference Player of the Week, Lillard seems to finally be exiting his season-long shooting slump. His splits on the year are still ugly (29.1% from 3, 39.1% from the field), but they’re trending in the right direction. Over his last five games, Lillard is shooting 39% from 3 on a large volume, including a 5-13 night against the Philadelphia 76ers in his last game.
Lillard is one of the league leaders in open 3s attempted per game (5.3), classified as shots taken with a defender between 4-6 feet away. As a small guard, that’s his comfort zone. With the defender closing or knocked off balance by a hard screen, Lillard makes his living shooting over the top of a just out-of-reach outstretched hand. And the Nuggets are so banged up that there are bound to be significant and ongoing defensive breakdowns on the perimeter.
3.5 is a steep total for the season that Lillard has had thus far, but how often can you get value betting the Over on Damian Lillard 3s?