Nuggets to cover vs Cavaliers: NBA Thursday Game Picks

  • The Cleveland Cavaliers are 3-point home favorites over the visiting Denver Nuggets
  • Nikola Jokic can become only the fourth player ever to win three consecutive NBA MVP awards 
  • The game tips off from Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse at 7:00 pm ET on Thursday, February 23rd

Donovan Mitchell put on a show on All-Star Sunday, scoring 40 points and 10 assists in a performance that was only topped by Jayson Tatum. The 26-year-old will again need to be at his best when his Cavaliers (38-23) welcome the Denver Nuggets (41-18) to Cleveland on Thursday.

Before we look at the odds and break down the matchup, check out our guide to betting on the 2023 NBA Finals and our tips for betting on the NBA.

Cavaliers vs Nuggets

BetOnline ReviewSpreadMoney LineTotal Points
Denver Nuggets+3 (-110)TBDOv 221.5 (-113)
Cleveland Cavaliers-3 (-110)TBDUn 221.5 (-107)

Can Jokic’s dominance continue?

Averaging 24.7 points, 11.5 rebounds and 10.1 assists at the All-Star Break, Nikola Jokic is a heavy favorite to win his third-straight MVP award. If he finishes the season strong, the 27-year-old would join some truly elite company (Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell).

The Serbian big man registered a triple-double (28 PTS, 15 REB, 10 AST) in a 121-108 home victory over the Cavaliers just over a month ago. Fellow All-Star Donovan Mitchell did not suit up for Cleveland for that one, however. The 26-year-old is averaging a career-high 27.3 points in his first year in Ohio.

All-Star heroics

Donovan Mitchell became the first player in NBA history to finish the All-Star Game with 40 or more points and 10 or more assists. Somewhat surprisingly given the existence of LeBron James, his 40-point effort was also the most in Cavaliers history.

Mitchell can only hope his opponent on Thursday night will stay as quiet as he was on Sunday. After being the penultimate pick in the All-Star Draft amongst the starters, Jokic had a modest line (4 PTS, 6 AST, 5 REB) for Team LeBron in a 184-175 loss.

Cleveland Cavaliers2023 NBA Championship
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Denver Nuggets2023 NBA Championship
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Cleveland vs Denver

Denver is a 3-point home underdog in Cleveland on Thursday. The Cavaliers have the fourth-best home record (25-6) in the NBA while the Nuggets are only .500 (14-14) on the road. J. B. Bickerstaff’s young club is also 20-10-1 against the spread in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. That 66.7% home cover rate is tied with the 76ers for tops in the league.

Michael Malone’s team meanwhile is just 12-16 ATS as visitors. Denver’s bench boss made headlines on Sunday after coaching Team LeBron, calling the 2023 NBA All-Star Game “the worst basketball game ever played.”

Best Bet

While the competition hasn’t exactly been impressive, the Cavaliers haven’t lost a home game in the month of February. Denver has claimed two-straight road victories, but also dropped contests in Orlando and Minnesota this month.

Most of the trends point to Cleveland covering the spread. But, with the playoffs just a couple months away, this well-rested Nuggets squad must prove it can win on the road against quality competition. We’ll take Jokic and the Nuggets to win outright with the OVER on 221.5 points.

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Steve Starr

Steve is the quintessential American sports enthusiast. He has mastered the art of Sundays, devoting them to football, and barbecue parties. He proudly wears the hats of a good father, husband and a great dog owner. Aside from his decades of contributing to different top-tier sports publications, Steve has also found his niche on Twitter, where he publishes funny and relatable sports-related insights. When he's not busy tweeting, Steve loves to watch each game unfold live. He possesses an innate talent for finding humor in the sports world, appreciating both the thrilling moments and the comedic mishaps that make each event unique.