Nuggets vs. Jazz Preview: Denver Has Value as Road Underdog

Action Network contributor Tyler Schmidt previews how to bet Wednesday's Western Conference clash between the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz.

Nuggets vs. Jazz Odds

Nuggets Odds +3.5
Jazz Odds -3.5
Over/Under 222.5
Time 10 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

This Western Conference clash features two teams in the top six of the standings between the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets. Injuries over the course of the season have set up both teams to fail, but they have held strong. The Nuggets led by an MVP candidate and the Jazz led by elite role players.

Can the struggling Jazz, without Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, find a way to stop arguably the best player in the league right now?

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Will Nikola Jokic Continue his MVP Campaign?

Aside from the loss last night, this six-game road trip has been very kind to the Nuggets and they are on their last leg of that road trip tonight against the Jazz. The Nuggets’ 28-22 record this season is further proof of how incredible Nikola Jokic has been and explains why he is rising in the MVP odds.

Jamal Murray has yet to play a game all season, while Michael Porter Jr. is out indefinitely after playing in nine games. This has led to Jokic showing his elite ceiling. He is leading the Nuggets is basically every major category, averaging 26 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 7.8 assists per game. He leads the entire league in double-double’s with 39 in his 44 games.

The Nuggets open up as 2-point road underdogs tonight as the game total is set at 222 points. The over has hit in 67% of the Nuggets games when they are underdogs this season, regardless if they cover the spread or not. When they do cover on the road, the over has hit in eight of their last 10 games.

The Nuggets rank 10th in Offensive Rating this season and 15th in Defensive Rating right below the Jazz. It’s not all Jokic — Aaron Gordon and Will Barton have both combined to score over 30 points per game for the Nuggets. Even Monte Morris has chipped in averaging career-high’s across the board.

They have also added Bryn Forbes to solidify their outside shooting. He hasn’t quite had a breakout game yet and is shooting just 36.5% from the field and 30% from behind the arc. Forbes has shot well over 40% from downtown the past two season, so this is a great add to a team looking for spot-up shooters.

This is a great spot for the Nuggets to continue their hot stretch as the Jazz are decimated with injuries. Jokic was questionable last night, but ended up playing and I would expect him to play and be extra aggressive tonight. If Jokic is surprisingly out, this would be an easy Jazz bet with the points.

Can the Utah Jazz Finally Cover in a Home Game?

The Jazz have hit a rough patch lately losing 11 of their past 13 games. Despite the losing streak, they still have the fourth-best record in the West at 30-21.

Injuries are taking a toll on the Jazz with their two main players Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert out once again tonight. Mitchell has been out for seven-straight games, while Gobert has been out for four. They also lost Joe Ingles for the season in their last game against the Timberwolves.

Not having Gobert and Mitchell on the floor has crushed the Jazz lately. They were one of the most feared teams at home last season as they had a league-best 31-5 record. Tides have totally changed this season despite their 15-10 record. They have failed to cover 11 home games in a row and 17 of 25 games.

Hassan Whiteside has led the Jazz in rebounding for four consecutive games without Gobert in the lineup. However, their defense takes a major hit! In nine games that Gobert has missed this season, the Jazz Defensive Rating has dropped from 108.5 to 122.0. Against Nikola Jokic, that is very concerning.

Despite their defensive struggles, the Jazz still remain as the best Offensive Rated team in the entire league. They are second in points with 113.5 and make a league-high 14.7 3-pointers per game. Obviously losing Mitchell who leads the Jazz is 3-pointers made is a big loss, but Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley, and Jordan Clarkson pour in a combined 7.5 3-pointers per game.

Those three players will need to carry the heaving lifting for the Jazz tonight. In their three meetings this season the Jazz covered the spread in every game. Mitchell played in all three, while Gobert played in two. They’ll have a tall task without both as they go for the season sweep over the Nuggets tonight.

Nuggets-Jazz Pick

The Jazz historically have been very good at home, but they can’t be trusted this season, especially without Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert not in the lineup. They will have an extremely difficult time slowing down arguably the best player in the league right now in Jokic.

When a game has this close of a spread and I like the underdog, I would rather put my money on the moneyline, which I am doing tonight. I also love the over in this spot as well — both defenses will be in for a very tough game. If you can grab the spread at +3 or better, I would lean toward the points over the moneyline.

Pick: Nuggets ML (+125) | Nuggets +3 or better