Clippers vs. Nuggets prediction: NBA odds, picks, best bets for Thursday

With 10 days left in the NBA’s regular season, there’s a terrific three-way race brewing at the top of the Western Conference standings among the Nuggets, Timberwolves and Thunder.

The three Northwest Division rivals are separated by less than a game heading into Wednesday’s action, putting extra emphasis on Denver’s late-night matchup in Los Angeles with the conference’s fourth-place Clippers.

Depending on the seedings, the Nuggets and Clippers could meet in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.

There’s still a lot to be settled before then, but Denver (53-23) has put itself in a position to own the top seed in the West for a second straight season.

The Nuggets need to finish at least one game ahead of Minnesota and Oklahoma City because those teams have already clinched head-to-head tiebreakers over Denver.

How badly do the Nuggets want it?


Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets plays the New York Knicks during the fourth quarter at Ball Arena on March 21, 2024 in Denver, Colorado.
Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets plays the New York Knicks during the fourth quarter at Ball Arena on March 21, 2024 in Denver, Colorado. Getty Images

Under normal circumstances, Thursday would be a natural rest day for Nikola Jokic, but the former MVP said he’s planning to play in all of the Nuggets’ remaining games in order to secure the top seed. 

Meanwhile, the Clippers could be without Kawhi Leonard on Thursday.

Leonard sat out L.A.’s loss to the Kings on Tuesday with knee soreness, and the Clippers — who have little hope of moving up from their current No. 4 seed — are unlikely to push their star player into service the rest of the regular season unless he’s 100 percent.


Betting on the NBA?


Thursday’s combatants have met three times this season but not since early December when the Clippers got their first win in the series after two losses in Denver.

In fact, the December win snapped an eight-game slide against the Nuggets dating to the 2021-22 season.

With more urgency for the Nuggets and with the Clippers’ health situation, look for Denver — which has won six of its last seven road games — to cover.

The play: Nuggets -4 (-108, FanDuel Sportsbook).

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