Denver Nuggets (53-27) vs. Utah Jazz (49-31)
NBA: Tuesday April 9, 2019 6:00 PM PT (Vivint Smart Home Arena)
Spread: Utah -2.5 — Over/Under: 213.5
Free NBA Pick Denver Nuggets vs Utah Jazz
The Denver Nuggets travel East to battle their neighboring state and Western conference rival, the Utah Jazz. With this being the penultimate game before the postseason starts for these teams, both teams look to end on a high note. After two solid home wins against the Spurs and the Trail Blazers, two playoff-clinched teams, the Nuggets lost to the Trail Blazers in Portland. But the Nuggets top three players did not play that game. The Utah Jazz hold a 8-2 record in the last 10 games. Most recently, they lost to the LA Lakers. Both of these teams have played 3 games already against one another, the Jazz lead 2-1.
The Nuggets played well against the Trail Blazers, considering the circumstances. After making a surge in the 4th quarter, the Nuggets could not stop Lillard and McCollum. But key players benefitted from more minutes and more chances to make a difference. Mason Plumlee became the only player with +30 minutes on the Denver side, he scored 10, with 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Gary Harris scored 18 on 8-12 shooting. The bench scored an impressive 47 points. Malik Beasley scored 15 with two 3Ps. Isiah Thomas scored 10 with 2 steals. But the Nuggets struggled to convert FTs (55 team FT%) and didn’t crash the glass hard enough (out rebounded 42-58). Much of this can be attributed to the starters missing in action.
Stars Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray sat out Sunday, along with key veteran Paul Millsap. Jokic leads all Nuggets in the top 3 categories (20.2 PPG, 10.8 RPG and 7.4 APG). He should be up there in MVP voting with his play or at least in the conversation. He ranks 6th in the NBA in Wins Shared (11.8) and 3rd in Value over Replacement (7.3) behind only Harden and Giannis. He made his first All-Star game this year as well. Murray has also become a valuable compliment to Jokic’s game, and vice versa. He averages 20.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists. And yet they lead one of the best defenses in the league (5th overall). They remains a force to be reckon with.
The Utah Jazz had a favorable 7-game stretch where they dominated less-competitive teams and boosted their own morale. But all of it came crashing down with a loss against the Lakers. Well, not really. They still played well and not all streaks can be sustained. Rudy Gobert scored 21 with 10 rebounds and 2 blocks. Georges Niang came off the bench and scored an impressive 16. But star Donovan Mitchell struggled from the field, going 5-17. He scored 19 with 5 assists. The Utah allowed the Lakers to scored +50% from the field, out-rebound and out-assists them.
After tears made him a headline and meme, Rudy Gobert continues to prove his worth on both sides of the ball. He remains possibly the most consistent defensive player. He ranks 3rd in blocks (2.3), 4th rebounds (12.9), and 3rd in Defensive Rating (100.1). He leads the NBA in Defensive Wins Shared (5.7) and Defensive Box Plus/Minus (5.1). But he also improves his offensive game. He lead the NBA in FG% and True Shooting%. He went from 13.5 points per game last year to 15.8. Gobert will make All-Star games in the future (because he cried?) and lead this team on both sides in the seasons to come. Look for him to make the difference in the upcoming playoffs matchups.
Cover the Spread 365 Betting Trends
Denver is 10-5 SU in its last 15 games
The total has gone UNDER in 18 of Denver’s last 23 games
The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Denver’s last 13 games on the road
Denver is 7-14-1 ATS in its last 22 games when playing Utah
Denver is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Utah
Utah is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Utah’s last 9 games at home
Utah is 11-5 SU in its last 16 games when playing Denver
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Utah’s last 8 games when playing Denver
Utah is 4-0-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against Denver
Free NBA Pick Utah Jazz vs Denver Nuggets
The matchup could either be a time for resting key players or a time to test competition in a possible playoff rematch. So, like most games nevertheless, it comes down to depth and trends. Jazz played well in the last 10 games and did not rest any players last game against the Lakers. The Nuggets rested players last game. The Jazz played well in the playoffs last year because of their bench and most of the bench returned this season. But I see the Nuggets coming out and winning now that Murray will definitely play. Plus, the bench played well last game.
My Pick: Denver (+2.5)