The Denver Nuggets are on the road on Wednesday night to take on the Utah Jazz in a Western Conference face-off between the teams sitting in third and fourth place, respectively, in the conference standings.
The Nuggets are on the second night of a back-to-back, having easily defeated visiting Portland on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, the Nuggets could potentially be down a couple of players in this one.
The Jazz are currently the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and are only a couple games behind the Nuggets. They’ll have a chance to inch even closer to the No. 3 spot by beating the Nuggets on Wednesday.
With the Nuggets coming in as 7.5-point underdogs, it could be tricky figuring out which way to bet this game. Let’s evaluate both teams before we make a decision.
Nuggets Searching For Gold
The Nuggets are one of the best teams in the Western Conference and are looking to continue their push before the playoffs. Unfortunately, the injury bug has struck in Denver, with Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee, Michael Porter Jr. having missed the last two games with an ankle injury, and Jerami Grant leaving Tuesday’s game with an ankle injury of his own.
Throw in the fact that the team is part of the four-team trade that reportedly will send three members of the Denver bench away, and the Nuggets could be very short-handed for this one.
The last time these two squads faced off, the Nuggets were able to snag a 106-100 win at home. They also covered the spread, considering they came in as three-point underdogs.
What I will say the Nuggets will have to correct in this game is their three-point shooting, considering in their last meeting with the Jazz, they shot just 9-of-27 from the three-point line.
Although the Nuggets don’t look like one of the best teams in the league on a stat sheet, they’ve found a way to win big games. That’s mainly due to their defense allowing an average of 106.5 points per game and the offense averaging 26.3 assists per game.
By focusing on these fundamentals, Denver has been able to beat teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, the Houston Rockets, and, of course, the Jazz.
Against the spread, the Nuggets are right at .500, which isn’t good but definitely isn’t one of the worst in the league. They did, however, cover the spread recently against Utah and against Portland, which brings some confidence.
Jazz Out Of Tune
The Jazz have only a couple of games separating them from the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference. Winning a head-to-head matchup with the team directly in front of them would certainly help their cause.
If you look at the Jazz on paper, you’ll see a team that does everything well: efficient scoring, good ball movement, and great defense. However, the way they look on paper hasn’t mattered recently.
The Jazz are coming off four straight losses coming into this one, though all but one of those games were within 10 points. The Jazz need to break out of this losing streak fast, as the Houston Rockets are right on their tail.
Utah’s against the spread record pretty much matches Denver’s, going 24-23-2 with an ATS record of 12-9-1 at home.
Pick and Prediction
Utah has two dangerous Western Conference rivals on its heels, and this will be a pivotal game going forward. To hold their position in the West, the Jazz will have to be able to pull off a home win against the Nuggets. Although they have the potential to win this game, I don’t see them covering the 7.5-point spread.
The Nuggets are coming off a big win against the Trail Blazers, and although playing on back-to-back nights is going to be tough, I think Denver will be up to the challenge. I’ll take the road underdogs in this one, Denver Nuggets +7.5.