Jazz vs. Nuggets NBA Picks: Bet Utah to Strike Gold in Denver

David Lawrence

Thursday, November 5, 2015 2:26 PM GMT

Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 2:26 PM GMT

The Utah Jazz were supposed to be a young team on the rise. They lost their home opener on Wednesday now and now fly to Denver. Check our NBA pick inside.

Momentum
The Jazz and Nuggets have recent wins to point to, but the Jazz played the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night and lost. Utah’s previous game was a victory last Saturday over the Indiana Pacers. The Jazz pulled away in the second half, prevailing by a 97-76 margin. The Utah defense the NBA saw during the second half of the 2014-2015 season is the defense the Jazz played on Saturday and on the day before as well, against the Philadelphia 76ers. Utah held both Indiana and Philly under 77 points, smothering them with good switches and rotations, plus the space-eating, height-filling presence of big man Rudy Gobert in front of the rim. However, they completely flopped against Portland, giving up 108 points. Against weaker offensive teams, Utah should be able to feast, and the idea that the Jazz can beat every bad team in the league is how they’re going to make a playoff push. Winning every game against an opponent perceived to be inferior will enable the Jazz to collect around 30 wins. Then, if they can win about 14 to 17 wins against decent teams and one or two against elite teams, they will have the total of wins – somewhere in the upper 40s – needed to make the playoffs.

Denver is coming off a 120-109 win in Los Angeles against the winless Lakers. The Nuggets did a good job in the third quarter of pushing the pace and beating the Lakers downcourt before they could settle into their halfcourt defense. The Nuggets have a lot of speed and talent, but it’s raw talent. Emmanuel Mudiay is learning how to play the point guard spot. Against weak defensive teams, he can do really well. Against stronger teams, he’s likely to struggle. The key is that he continues to pick up valuable experience which, with a good coach such as Mike Malone at his side will enable him to develop at a good rate.

 

What’s The Pick?
The Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets are a couple of young teams trying to make their way up the board in the Western Conference, which won’t be easy this season or in any season over the next few years. The West is going to remain stacked for the foreseeable future, and so it’s essential for these two franchises – as much as they might want to think big this year – to focus on patient and long-term development, so that in 2018 and 2019, they can retain these core lineups and be in position to contend for bigger prizes in the NBA. They meet on Thursday night in Denver, hoping to take one small step forward at the beginning of the season.

The Nuggets opened as a 1.5-point dog in this spot on the NBA odds and that’s a telling sign. The Jazz defense stumbled last night but should bounce back quickly. Look for them to give Mudiay a lot of problems and ultimately gum up the Nuggets’ offense. Take the Jazz minus the points with your NBA picks.

NBA Pick: Utah -1.5 at Bovada

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