Utah (32-15) has dropped two straight after a 127-120 road loss against the Spurs Wednesday. The Jazz had won four in a row and 19 of its last 21 before this mini-slump. Donovan Mitchell scored a team-high 31 points and made all 10 of his free throws. Bojan Bogdanovic went 4-for-9 from the 3-point line as Utah made 14 triples as a team. The Jazz lead the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage (38.4%). Utah is 7-3-1 ATS over their last 11 games and has not been an underdog since Dec. 28 against the Clippers.
Denver (32-15) has also dropped two in a row after a 104-96 road loss against the Grizzlies Tuesday. It snapped a string of 24 consecutive games with at least 100 points scored for the Nuggets, who will be without Jamal Murray (ankle) and Paul Millsap (knee) again on Thursday. Denver was outscored 76-22 in the pain against Memphis as Jaren Jackson Jr. controlled the paint with a career-high seven blocks. The Nuggets play at the 29th slowest pace in the NBA and rank second in 3-point defense (33.6%).
ESPN’s FPI gives Denver a 59.4% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Thursday’s matchup between the Jazz and Nuggets.
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Jazz vs. Nuggets Game Details
Date: Thursday, January 30
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
Location: Pepsi Center (Denver, Colorado)
TV: TNT, Sportsnet
Spread: Jazz -1.5
- PF Paul Millsap (knee) out
- PG Jamal Murray (ankle) out
- C Bol Bol (foot) out
- PF Mason Plumlee (foot) out
- Jazz are 32-15 SU and 25-21-1 ATS this season
- Nuggets are 32-15 SU and 20-23-4 ATS this season
- Over 25-22 in Jazz games this season
- Under is 27-20 in Nuggets games this season
Analysis & Pick
Both of these teams have been a pleasant surprise this season. The Nuggets and Jazz enter with identical 32-15 records and are tied for third in the Western Conference standings. Utah has been the better team against the number while the Nuggets have been a profitable Under team this season.
Perimeter scoring is the key matchup to watch in this game. Utah has excelled at shooting the 3-pointer this season while the Nuggets do a great job defending the outside. Utah went 14-of-36 on Wednesday night in San Antonio. Jordan Clarkson drained 3 triples and scored 20 points off the bench. Rudy Gobert continued to dominate the paint with 19 rebounds.
Nikola Jokic has 22 double-doubles over his last 28 games after a 25-point, 13-rebound performance against the Grizzlies. Jokic ranks 10th on the NBA all-time triple-double list with 37 and has recorded nine so far this season.
The line is a bit fishy here considering Utah played last night and has lost two straight. Perhaps the injuries to Millsap and Murray play a factor, but I’m not falling for the trap. The Jazz should snap out of their funk against a Denver team that struggles to score.
PICK: Jazz +1.5
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith