The Jazz are in the middle of a bad run at the moment, but this is a spot that sets up nicely for them at home against the Nuggets. Our NBA odds preview for this Western Conference tilt can be found inside.
NBA oddsmakers like Denver here, with the team favored by three points despite being on the road. With the Nuggets on a nice roll and the Jazz struggling, that should come as no surprise.
Both teams have been very poor defensively, so a total of 208 also makes sense. It should be a high-tempo game, and we wouldn't be surprised to see the OVER hit with ease.
The Jazz have been going downhill lately, having dropped five straight games coming into tonight. They're now at 5-12 on the season.
During the losing streak, Utah has fallen to the Pelicans, Bulls and Clippers at home and the Warriors and Thunder on the road. As you can see, the competition has been tough, so we're not entirely convinced the Jazz have truly been as bad as their recent recults may suggest.
Utah has been off since Saturday's loss to LA in which a bad first quarter was too much to overcome. The Jazz were outscored 35-18 and simply couldn't recover, in spite of Gordon Hayward's 30 points, five rebounds and three assists. As a team, Utah shot 45.3 percent, but they were a mess on the defensive end, allowing the Clippers to hit at a 56.3 percent clip.
Hayward has easily been the team's best player so far this season, averaging 19.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG and 3.9 APG. Derrick Favors is having a solid season too, while the other three starts (Burke, Burks and Kanter) have had their moments too. Overall though, this is still a very young team, and the growing pains are going to continue for the forseeable future, with some positives mixed in here and there.
Remember when the Nuggets were 2-7 and there was a lot of discontent with the team? Brian Shaw wasn't happy at all with his team, and rightfully so.
Fast forward to day, and Denver has won six of seven games to move to an even .500 (8-8) on the year. During the run, the Nuggets have beaten the Cavaliers, Bulls, Pelicans and Suns, so it's not like they've been storming through bad teams. It's been a great couple of weeks for these guys.
Denver has been off since Friday's home win over Phoenix. The Nuggets were hitting practically everything from the floor - they had seven different players score in double figures, but it was Arron Afflalo that made the biggest impact, as he scored 22 points on 5-of-9 shooting in only 24 minutes of play. Ty Lawson made quick work of the Suns, scoring 11 points while dishing out 10 assists in 28 minutes.
Putting the ball in the hoop hasn't been an issue for Denver this season. They're averaging 105.5 points per game, which is the fourth-best mark in the NBA. They've also been great in the rebounding department (#4 in the league), yet their inconsistency on the defensive end (105.5 PPG allowed, #26 in the NBA) has been their downfall.
There's no question the Nuggets have been playing a lot better of late.
That being said, this is a good situational spot for the Jazz, who are desperate for a win and now get a crack at an inconsistent Denver squad on their home court. Utah has shown they can play great basketball at home, having already beaten the Cavaliers, Thunder and the Suns, while also hanging around with the Bulls. They've got some great young talent and we think the duo of Favors and Kanter will have success against the Nuggets' weak interior.
All in all, we still don't entirely trust Denver, in spite of their improved performances. We believe there to be good value on Utah at home and will recommend backing Hayward and company with your NBA picks for a relatively quiet Monday night of action. Good luck!
Free NBA Pick: Utah Jazz +3 at BookMaker