March 11 was the last time the Denver Nuggets took to the court in a game that counted in the NBA standings.
In the four months since then, Nikola Jokic has slimmed down, Michael Porter Jr. has recovered from an ankle injury and fellow rookie Bol Bol has put on a show in the NBA bubble.
Finally, at long last, the Nuggets return to action this Saturday against the Miami Heat at 11 a.m. It will be the first of eight seeding games Denver will play before the playoffs begin.
What’s at stake?
The Nuggets are currently the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, but could end up anywhere from No. 2, all the way to the seventh seed. Although, they will end up either Nos. 3, 4 or 5.
Head coach Michael Malone already has said the team’s focus during the seeding games will be to get ready for the playoffs.
With everyone playing in Orlando in arenas without fans, the home court advantage will be nonexistent. For that reason, most teams have talked about not being concerned with where they are seeded come playoff time.
How are the Nuggets looking?
It was an interesting beginning for the Nuggets in the Orlando bubble.
The “team” officially arrived on July 7, but they were without many key members of their rotation, including Jokic, who didn’t arrive until a week later. Denver’s All-NBA center tested positive for COVID-19 in June while in his home country of Serbia. He was delayed in his return to the US.
During the Nuggets’ first two scrimmages, they only had eight players. It wasn’t until their third and final scrimmage that starting point guard Jamal Murray took the floor.
One positive, though, has been the emergence of Bol. However, he hadn’t played at all for Denver this season while dealing with injuries from college. Whether the 7’2 Bol will play during the restart remains to be seen, but he provided many highlights during the Nuggets’ scrimmages.
When do the NBA playoffs start?
While the Nuggets don’t play until Saturday, the NBA restart begins today (July 30) with Utah taking on New Orleans and the Clippers facing the Lakers.
The final games of the seeding round are set for Friday, Aug. 14, with the first round of the playoffs on Monday, Aug. 17.
If you like the Nuggets’ chances of winning the title this season, DraftKings currently has them listed at +3,000, tied for eighth-best odds with Miami. Both the Lakers and Milwaukee are the favorites at +250.
Special offers at Colorado sportsbooks
For NBA bettors in Colorado, the restart also means the first opportunity to wager on live NBA games legally.
With that in mind, DraftKings, FanDuel and BetRivers have exclusive offers for new and existing customers.
FanDuel Sportsbook is running a special “Spread the Love” promotion for today’s Lakers-Clippers game.
The Lakers originally were listed as 4-point favorites.
However, for every 2,500 customers who bet the market, the line will move +1 in the Lakers’ favor. For example, if 20,000 bets are placed, the line would move eight points and close at Lakers +4. The best part of the offer is that all users will receive the final odds.
So, this means you don’t have to wait until the last minute to get the best odds. The only catch? The max allowable wager is $50.
As for DraftKings Sportsbook, you can bet $20 to win $100 on whatever team you choose in any NBA game, today through Saturday.
To take advantage of the offer, you must select “Choose Your Boost” on DraftKings’ landing page. Then, you must select the team you want to boost and click “Boost This Game” with the special +500 odds.
Just be careful, because once selected, you cannot change your pick. And as the special implies, the bet maximum is $20.
At BetRiversCO, the sportsbook is offering a free $5 live bet for placing a $50+ single pregame wager on any NBA game. Today through Friday, you can earn up to two free bets a day.