NBA Game Preview: Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets

Jan 5, 2022

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Game: Utah Jazz @ Denver Nuggets  

Time: 10:00 p.m. ET 

Odds: Jazz -4.5, Nuggets +4.5 

Total: 222 

Utah is 7-1 in its last eight games and travels to Denver looking for its 10th straight road victory. The Jazz have been one of the NBA’s best teams on the road this season going 13-3 straight up so far. If you were wondering which NBA team is leading the league on offense, it’s Utah. Yes, the Jazz average 116 points per game and rank No. 1 in scoring. They also rank No. 1 in field goal percentage at 47.7 percent. 

Playing on the road doesn’t affect Utah much. The Jazz also have the league’s best road offense (114.6 points per game) and its best road defense. Utah allows 102.8 points a game when playing away from home. That is why they have won 13 of 16 away games this season. 

Leading the Jazz is Donovan Mitchell who averages 25.7 points per game. What makes the Jazz the best in the NBA on offense is its depth. Utah’s top five scorers all average 14 points or more per game. Surprisingly though, for all of Utah’s offensive and defensive talent, they have trouble covering spreads. The Jazz are just 2-8 ATS in their last ten games. Against Denver on the road, Utah is just 3-11 ATS. 

Denver hasn’t had much luck covering spreads either. They are 2-4 ATS in their last six games overall and 1-5 ATS in their last six home games. The Nuggets have been inconsistent all season long. Denver had won three straight before getting beat by Dallas handily, 103-89. It was no fault of reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic who had a double-double with 27 points and 16 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough. That has been Denver’s problem all season long. 

The Nuggets will be without Jeff Green and Monte Morris tonight due to health and safety protocols. That means Jokic will be counted on even more to deliver a big game against the Jazz. The Nuggets do have a winning record (8-6) at home this season. In the only meeting so far this season, Utah beat Denver 122-110 at home covering the spread as a 7.5-point favorite.  

The total has gone Under in five of Denver’s last six games. In three of those games, the Nuggets failed to reach 100 points. In the Jazz-Nuggets series, the opposite has been true. In the last five games between the two teams, both have gone well over 100 points which is likely why the total has been set at 222. The total has gone Over in seven of the last ten Jazz-Nuggets games, including the last three in a row. 

Denver, though, plays at the sixth-slowest pace in the NBA and the Nuggets defensive numbers at home rank No. 4 in the league (102.3 points per game). Denver has held its last four opponents to an average of 100 points. Three of Utah’s last five games have gone Under the posted game total.